Saturday, September 23, 2006

Letting Go

By Paul McCartney

Motor cars, handle bars
Bicycles for two
Brokenhearted jubilee

Today we had a neighborhood tag sale, and if it’s true that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” …today I sold a treasure trove.

Parachutes, army boots
Sleeping bags for two
Sentimental jamboree

My wife and I spent the better part of the week sifting through pieces of our daughters’ childhood; dusting off highchairs, bagging stuffed animals, even polishing Malibu Barbie’s red corvette. Each item told a story, and it was admittedly a little hard to let some things go.

Buy Buy
Says the sign in the shop window
Why Why
Says the in junk the yard

My older daughter Allie started high school this year and she’s having a little trouble adjusting. She says, “it’s hard being at the bottom of the high school food chain.” She’s also feeling a little overwhelmed. She is taking honors courses, which means that she has four-five hours of homework every night. In addition to this, her childhood friends are now breaking off into little cliques, and she feels as if she’s being left behind. Recently, another “popular girl” moved her lunch bag from “the cool” table in the high school cafeteria. Allie had gotten up from her seat to get a drink, and when she returned her bag was sitting at the far end of the table. She said that she then had to scramble to find another seat. She was very distraught.

My advice to my daughter was to let it go.

I understand that popularity is a big deal in high school," I said,"but in life’s big picture, it doesn’t really matter how popular you were in high school. Allie looked unconvinced. "Ya know," I continued, "I wasn’t exactly Mr. Popularity in high school and... I turned out alright.”
Now she looked really depressed.

My wife consoled her this way: “Someday you’ll see these girls at your high school reunion and you’ll see how things have turned around. The girls with the big boobs who are popular now, will probably be fat and unhappy, while the bookworms will have become beautiful and successful."

I think Allie was starting to feel better.

Candlesticks, building bricks
Something old and new
Memories for you and me

It began to rain at the tag sale and we were forced to move our tables of merchandise into our two-car garage. In my wife’s half of the garage, my daughters piled their games, dance costumes, baby dolls, puzzles, stuffed animals and Barbie dolls. They then took empty boxes and placed them in tiers, with each level of this cardboard high-rise condo displaying dolls in several varied and interesting positions. After doing this, they spent a good part of the afternoon combing out the knots that had formed in all their previously neglected Barbie dolls' hair (“for sale purposes” they told me.)

A middle-aged woman from Oklahoma was our first customer. Shortly after entering the garage, she found a battery-operated cat that belonged to my younger daughter. “Well howdy! The woman greeted the cat as she turned it in her hand. She then asked.. "What do you do?”
Before the cat could reply,  Allie ran over, turned the cat upside down and flipped a switch. At that, the cat began wagging it’s tail and purring loudly. The woman was delighted. She then moved on to the baby doll display; “Wow,” she said. “You girls must really love your dollies. It must be hard to let them go.”

After picking up two armfuls of junk, Uhh! …I mean treasure, the woman piled her merchandise on the card table that served as our checkout counter. I began totaling up her purchases on my calculator and my daughters bagged the goods. I passed the purring cat over to Allie but instead of putting it in the bag, she began petting the fur. The woman asked, “Are you sure you want to let go of that honey?” Allie (now a little flustered) said, “Yeah, no problem. This cat belonged to my sister anyway.”

Buy buy
Says the sign in the shop window
Why why
Says the in junk in the yard

After the tag sale I was exhausted. I was about to lie down on the couch when I found one of  Allie's old dolls sitting crossed legged on a cushion. “Don’t squish mini-Allie!  pleaded Allie. When I picked up the doll, I recognized it as one of the look-alike dolls we bought our daughters when they were younger. At the time, these dolls looked just like them and it was no surprise when my daughters named them Mini Allie and Mini Caitlin. They had the same brown pageboy haircuts, the same porcelain white skin and the same big blue eyes. As I lay down to nap, I placed the doll on my chest, just as I used to do with the girls when they were babies.

“Ahhh! Are you gonna sleep with your wittle dolly?” Allie asked.

“Yes…as a matter of fact I am.” I said.

Sometimes it’s hard to let go.

Buy buy
Says the sign in the shop window
Why why
Says the in junk in the yard


Tanning Lotion said...

Those teenage years can be tough. My kids are 7 and 4 and I am in no hurry for them to grow up. Good luck with yours.

Anonymous said...

High school sucks. There really ARE mean girls there. Just continue to be your daughter's soft place to fall and she will make it through. You probably will have many anxious moments on her behalf.

Anonymous said...

bybnwGarage sales are always interesting. I have not had one for years because I hate the work involved in preparing for them. I'm also a packrat and have a hard time letting go. One of my guys was helping me several years ago rearrange his room. He and a couple of his friends found some of the old toys I had kept from his younger days. They spent some time playing with all the legos, transformers, and a few other items. I guess it brings back fond memories for them. High school, on the other hand, can be challenging. Your wife is right, alot of the popular girls at my reunion didn't even show up because they were fat. I will say a little prayer for you and your wife because there is nothing like parent worry when our kids are upset and it's out of our control. Tell your daughter to hang in there.

Anonymous said...

I love this one!

suechef said...

Wait until your kids hit their twenties. You think it's tough at a garage sale just wait until you drop them at their college dorms for the first time and drive away! I actually had to pull over to the side of the Turnpike to get my husband to stop crying. We were both a MESS. High school insecurities are just another stepping stone to their bigger worlds. God knows I would never minimize that journey. It's all good and bad at the same time. Good luck with all of it and in the end it's SO worth it. Hold onto the little things like baby-dolls and old toys. It changes so quickly it's hard to keep up. Have fun...laugh alot...and kiss them every day.

Tony Alva said...

My man, that was the best peice you've written yet. Well done sir. I know I'm going to struggle to say and do the right thing when my little angel comes to me like that, but I'll say this, the fact that she actually came to you about this says that you've done a great job up to this point.

A friend who also has all girls told me after I let him know my wife and I were having a girl, "Well, you don't get to go to football games, but intimidating the boyfriends they bring home is not a bad consolation prize..."