Once a year I set up a booth at a flea market in South Jersey where I sell off clothes, DVDs, books, toys, etc. that my family no longer wants or needs. It’s the one time each year I brave driving my husband’s cargo van because we typically amass enough tubs of “stuff” to fill the back of a van.
This year’s trip was a little different. Everything from the selection of items to the organization and selling of said items was markedly different from previous trips.
As I made my way through the house collecting items, I kept passing nursery items I’ve kept tucked away in the corner of the basement. His bouncer, his walker, his high chair and crib items were all I had left of his “baby days.”
You see, I’d already given away most of his baby stuff to my sister and a new mom I had met through Craigslist. These other items, though… these are the things that I just couldn’t part with. Too many memories were attached to them, and every time I tried to talk myself into giving them away because other folks could use them, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I’d inevitably hear Vincent’s chubby little face falling into laughter as he jumped in his bouncer.
I’d see him smiling as he moved back and forth in the wobbler.
I’d see him clapping for the very first time.
Or my husband playing peek-a-boo as Vincent giggled in amusement from his high chair.
So those items – I kept them with me because I just couldn’t let them go. They sat, unused, in my basement. I secretly hoped that I’d be able to use them again should I find myself blessed with a miracle child.
After my miscarriage, though, seeing these items hurt so much. Every time I’d do laundry, I’d pass them in the basement and my heart would ache. I'd have to recollect myself in the basement before coming back upstairs because I didn't want John or Vincent to see me crying.
I knew that these beloved little items would have to find homes elsewhere. I wanted them to bring joy to a family instead of heartache to mine. So I vowed that these items would make their way onto the van this year. And I made good on that vow Tuesday. The items that weren't claimed by my sister or a friend were put out at the flea market. I sold most of his clothing and donated the rest. Many of his toys were either sold or given away (because I can't help but give free stuff to the kids who get super excited over random toys - heh). The only thing I got emotional over was his nursery set.
Winnie the Pooh sheets, blankets, a crib bumper, artwork, canvas, window treatments, a lamp and a music pillow were part of this collection. I'd only recently changed Vince over from this Pooh motif to his current Superhero theme.
Well, a really sweet grandfather came over to my table and wanted to purchase the lamp. He excitedly told me it was for his brand new granddaughter, Julianna. When he said that, I offered the entire nursery set for a retarded price. $10. And ya know what? I don't care. He said, "No, I can't take all this for $10!" Even my friend, Faith, shot me a look and said, "Really?"
I said, "Of course! It's got everything you need and if she likes Pooh, she'll love this. It's clean, soft and adorable. Just take it."
And of course he did. I was happy to turn over these items to someone I knew would use them well. Knowing these were going to a brand new baby girl just made me happy. However, after I bagged up the items and sent him on his way, I did choke back tears. I mean, how couldn't I? While I was happy to send that grandfather away with the set, I was also sad that the whole of Vince's nursery just walked away with him.
The day brought more of the same as folks went through the various items I had for sale. I was selling stuff off for stupid low prices if I saw it was going to a good family. The only time I "overcharged" was for Vincent's 3-in-1 swing. I think that was the item closest to my heart because of all the memories I have of him using it as an infant. An unhappy woman asked me how much I wanted, and I immediately didn't want to sell it to her. I quoted a higher price, knowing she wouldn't take the bait, and happily said goodbye when she turned her nose up at me.
Meh. I guess I wasn't as ready as I thought I was to give that one up.
So my house is now relatively clear of infant / toddler items. I honestly don't know how I feel about this right now. Sometimes I'm glad to have a cleaner house that is also free of the heartache associated with those items. Other times I'm really sad because I feel like I've given up hope for those children I never got to meet.
Right now, I'm okay. Though I don't have the physical items, I have the memories, and when my memory fades, I've got my videos. :)
So yup - there's my most recent flea market experience. How about you fine folks? Do you routinely do garage sales / flea markets? How do you handle parting with such sentimental items?
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