I found myself following an impulse to clean, organize, get rid of the things that were no longer of use to us. I sort of followed Marie Kondo’s methods to comb through my closets and especially through my garage. However, the whole exercise turned into a gigantic emotional battle. Instead of finding myself questioning my decision to keep old college sweatshirts, I started questioning whether our family of five was complete.
My husband and I have been oscillating between “yes” and “no” to go for a fourth child for almost two years now. Both answers sound so drastic to us that we have just been floating in the comfort of a “maybe”, staying neutral; but now that I was set to rid ourselves from the “extras”, we needed to confront the question and make a decision.
We sort of did find an answer: we needed to free the garage and honestly 3/4 of the things stored there were comprised by baby gear, which we haven’t used in at least a year. It needed to go.
Half-way convinced, I snapped a few photos of the crib and changing table, I dismantled the first and posted them for sale on Craigslist. I was so certain of my decision -of selling the stuff, not so much of not having another child yet-, that I made arrangements within hours of my post for a buyer to come pick the items up.
I wasn’t there when they came to take them, but as soon as my husband texted me with the news of their departure, my heart started leaking all the nostalgia that had been trapped behind my urge to get organized. They had taken MY crib, my babies’ safe haven, the place where they had learned to sleep on their own and to call for us in the mornings. My little nest was gone! I felt really sad, almost remorseful. There was nothing else to do! It was gone!
The pain I felt was shared by my partner. We both had this wound sting that felt more like it was going to get infected than it was close to healing. Yet, we couldn’t bring ourselves to commit to either have another child or to leave our family as it is. So we sort of placed a mental band-aid on our feelings and I proceeded to gather the rest of the big gear to sell at an upcoming garage sale.
The first few things that left hurt like the sticky pain one feels when detaching a band-aid slowly; nevertheless, I felt compelled to continue the process. While I was tending to the sale, I snapped photos and posted more of the baby gear online. Most of it sold withing two days and as buyers came and took the stuff while telling me that their 4-month-old was going to love his new jumper, a mom-to-be was excited to have a stroller for their first baby, their niece really was going to enjoy the clothes… as they told me a little bit about my baby gear’s new homes, I felt better and better.
At the end, it was easier just to rip off the band-aid at once. I even found that the wound underneath had signs of healing.
We were on the right track!
I remain uncommitted to having (or not having) another child. However, letting go of the things we were no longer using to allow other people to take advantage of them, made me feel happy, liberated and at peace. Perhaps this is the first step to allows to figure out what we want. In the mean time, I’m excited to have kept the stuff that truly makes us happy -the rest was “just there”.