Boxes. Clothes. Stuff. First-world problems of too much stuff in the basement. Boxes of my children’s stuff: school memories, projects, photo albums, and yearbooks. A trumpet, music stand, and tennis racket in the corner. Clothes, costumes, and uniforms on a hanging rod, long neglected and outdated. Former extracurricular pursuits, now abandoned for a focus on college classes and career preparation.
Not only my children’s boxes, but boxes of stuff belonging to my husband and me. Plus memorabilia from deceased relatives. I am the keeper of family mementos, my house the repository of family history. My parents’ photo albums, dating back to the 1930s. Super 8 mm movies from the 1960s-1970s in their metal tins with a matching movie projector. Prom pictures from the 70s, photos, souvenirs, and clothing from my late husband’s life, stored for my children to sort through some day. More stuff in labeled boxes.
Hours spent sorting, donating, and re-packing the stuff. Carloads of boxes and items donated. Boxes and more stuff, memory after stored memory, lugged out of the basement, out of the house.
Not many memories from the room itself: a few projects completed and a water softener that ate large bags of salt. The heady stench of marker and the ripping noise of packing tape ceased; the empty room awaited only cleaning before the move. I noticed the smell of moisture from the concrete basement floor. My California daughter used to correlate that smell of humidity with her Midwestern grandmother’s house. “It smells like Oma’s basement.” How quickly that became our own overlooked basement smell once we moved to Minnesota.
Swish, swish. The sound of the broom clearing the last of the room. A residual of dust and bugs where life and memories had been stored.
And then I saw the vertical wooden column upon which I had tallied my children’s growth. Dates, ages, and initials of both kids, their growth verified on the upright framing. The 2 by 4 stood sentry next to a big black plumbing pipe, both essential to the house structure. I snapped a photo and took only memories along with me.
The newly-cleaned basement and house seemed lonely. No kid shrieks or laughter; no youthful energy inside. Gone were the door slams from frustrated teenagers. No kids racing downstairs as I trudged up with box after box. From solid concrete to soft carpet, stuff traveled up the stairs, out the door, and onto the trailer.
Slosh, slosh. The mop diffused a clean smell. A sanitized room awaited the home buyer.
Goodbye home. Goodbye to the place where my children laughed, played, and grew. And grew. And grew. And then they launched.
Thank you, Lord, for your provision and protection as we grew and made memories in our wonderful home. Please bless the new owners.