It’s the time of year again when we honor our parents. Mothers in May, fathers in June.
When we’re little, we make our mom and dad handpainted flower pots and coffee mugs. As we get older, we might send mom flowers from her favorite florist or buy dad another grilling accessory. Quickly though we learn that what our parents most want from us is time with their children, not more stuff.
So often my clients are torn, unable to part with even the smallest, insignificant tsotchkes made by their children. Before you know it, they’ve got shelves and cabinets full of memorabilia – much of it that’s truly not that memorable. There’s almost a sense of guilt and failure if you consider parting ways with any of these things. Until we remind ourselves what is truly precious.
Does that handmade object capture a special stage or milestone in my child’s life (for example, a tiny handprint in clay, the first time she wrote “Mom” or that first “Daddy and Me” sketch). It may sound harsh, but can you judge the effort that went into the project? If it’s a smear of paint on a premade ceramic horse painted by a 5-year old, chances are there isn’t much invested in that object for either you or your child.
Remember, these are just tokens of our child’s love not measures of it. However, if tossing an object or artpiece is more than you can handle, archive it using one of the great online art resources – I recommend either Artimus Art or the Artkive App for your phone or tablet.
If you want ideas for a truly meaningful gift for either parent, think about how you can lighten their load. How many of us – even as middle-aged adults – continue to keep stuff stockpiled in our parents’ attics, bedrooms and basements. Yearbooks, school papers, photo albums of old sweethearts from college, jerseys and trophies. The list is endless and so are the piles of stuff.
Go home, spend some time with your parents and purge your stuff. It’s a gift they’ll truly appreciate and you won’t burden them with that difficult choice to keep or toss.