Science has shown we should be spending our time on experiences and not things. This hit home a few months ago when my aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered at Grammy’s house to begin the process of preparing her home to sell. Which is never an easy task. In a house full of stuff, how do you decide what to keep, what needs to be thrown away, and what should be donated?
As we pulled items from cupboards and boxes from shelves it was a walk down memory lane. In the kitchen we counted the small green plastic cups. They’re just ordinary cups, but, to every grandchild, those cups were filled with orange juice to help us take the mandatory (disgusting) vitamins before every meal. In the toy cupboard, we pulled out puzzle after puzzle and commented on how we thought the clown puzzle was the creepiest thing ever—it still is. In the downstairs kitchen, there was those special bowls that came out on Sunday nights when caramel popcorn was eaten around the fire. In the garage, there was the beat up milk crate filled with painted cans that were used for hours and hours of duck on a rock on the court. And it went on and on.
As we made progress through the home, we mentioned the things we’d like from the home. The most requested items from the grandchildren are not the beautiful jewelry or the expensive furniture. The most requested things are those items that have memories associated.
It’s the 40+-year-old-tepee with the blue checked blanket where we played pioneers, cooled off after hours in the irrigation, and let our imagination run wild. It was where Gramps and Grammy joined us for countless tea parties and made our pretend food feel like the most incredible thing ever.
It’s the handmade card game and the score sheets that were posted on the fridge. Which fueled our family’s strong sense of competitiveness and fairness. No matter what happened, we knew that those games were just that—games and the outcome was never worth relationships.
It’s the vintage My Little People sets that fueled our imagination for the future—families, babies, and houses with white picket fences.
It’s the hats and gloves from a bygone era that made us feel glamorous and that the world was ours for the taking.
Those items reminded every single grandchild of the love they felt at Gramps and Grammy’s house. That Gramps and Grammy’s house was a place where we felt safe, loved, and valued.
I’ll probably not end up with any of these items, but I’ll always have those memories and the reminder of Gramps and Grammy’s love. Isn’t that what truly matters anyway?
Download the Memories Matter printable HERE.