What Would You Keep?

If there was a fire at your home, what would you save?

That\’s a question that most people have entertained at least once. I\’m not sure if people normally have a difficult time answering that question, but I never found it to be particularly difficult for me.
I would save any children, pets, people first (obviously) and after that if I had time it would be my purse (which has my wallet, cell phone and keys) and if I was really ambitious, I would probably try and get my laptop (which holds most of my pictures) and then those really important documents that are hard to replace (passports, birth certificates, social security cards, marriage certificate, etc.). Those would probably be my bare necessities. Everything else could be engulfed in flames and ,while it would be sad, it is all pretty much replaceable. That to me is an easy question.
What is a much harder question is the much more likely scenario I now find myself. There isn\’t a fire. You can keep as much as you want in theory and the time limit for deciding isn\’t a matter of minutes, but over the course of hours, days and even months. Then what would you keep?
My parents are finally going to sell my childhood home. This is a really good move for them financially. They have been living in Austin for the past 2 years, because that\’s where they felt needed. Both my parents have retired and now spend their days helping take care of the various grandchildren they have collected over the last several years. We all live in this area (the farthest away is San Antonio). There is no reason to be in Houston, but every reason to be in Austin. My brother and I have bought houses very close to one another. We are planning on being here for a while and my parents ultimately want to be with us. It makes sense.
However, for the past 2 years, they have also been maintaining (with no renters or anything) my childhood home in Spring. Yes, the house itself is paid off, but homes still need to cared for and looked after, so my parents have been travelling down to care for the house about every 2 weeks for two years. It is definitely time to sell it.
So, they have been going through the process of getting the house ready to be sold. There have been major updates (granite countertops have been installed, wallpaper has been eradicated and the small downstairs bathroom is basically unrecognizable). Now we have to go through our stuff, pack it all up and decide where to put it, in storage, in our home, donate it or throw it away. All of my stuff that I had growing up I am now going through piece by piece and deciding whether I should keep it. That\’s a much harder decision. On one hand, the things are not on the list of bare necessities. If it was all engulfed in flames, I would easily survive. On the other hand, How do you throw away all your old writings and art projects? What if one day you want to show your children or grandchildren this stuff. What is worth keeping, what needs to be tossed? Also, certain things like games or toys you can totally envision giving to your own children (if we even have any) in the future. It\’s an agonizing process.We had lived in this home for for about 22 years. That\’s a lot of time to accumulate stuff and, honestly, we have way too much of it.
I write this now in my old home. The home I grew up in that is being packed away and placed in storage. It may very well be the last time I get to be in this place, the place with all of my memories growing up and going to school. This may well be the last time I am in my old room, which used to be bright yellow and covered with all my most decorative items, like signs from friends and random items I inherited from wherever. I may never be back here.This is my chance to officially say goodbye to my family of origin in a way (although not my actual family) and recognize that my new focus is and will forever be my family of creation, our new house where we will make new memories.
It is hard to say goodbye though, going past all the spots that remind me of certain memories that have shaped me throughout my life. Without those experiences, I would not be the woman I am today. All of the dinners and holidays and playing and swimming that occurred here will be forever enshrined in this place. If the walls could talk, it might tell the new owners what my sister and I played or what my brothers fought about. The walls would tell them about how our family was united and strongly bound by love, even more than we realized at the time. I hope the walls will miss us and think of us fondly as I know we will for the rest of our lives.

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