Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Don't Send Me Tchotchkes

It happens every year. My uncluttered home begins to take on an entirely new appearance.  Boxes of decorations come out of the closets in the garage and their contents are strewn on couches and chairs and tables and window sills and in doorways and from door knobs and stand sentry by the front door. Everything I touch makes me smile, brings a memory, gives me a moment's retreat into a place long gone.

It could also be said that I collect junk.

I love the discount aisle in the grocery store, transformed from now until January into a plastic wonderland of seasonal delights.  They are always on sale, TWO FOR $1, BUY ONE GET ONE, the signs are not subtle and that's just fine.  I want to be enticed, drawn in, commanded to spend a dollar here, fifty cents there, and fill my cart with joy.

My smile never wavers, except if I scrunch my mouth up into a thinking position as I try to decide between the purple and the orange and the black plastic shot glasses.  Adult Cuters can be gifted with such items with impunity, and so I added skull wine glasses, and flashing paper weights, and 8" orange plastic cups with jack-o-lantern faces embossed in black, and glow-in-the-dark hand soaps to my cart.

"Orange and black.... orange and black.... nothing in between.... When the world is orange and black.... then it's HALLOWEEEN!!!"  I repeated St. Chrysostom's Nursery School's permanent addition to our family's memory bank as I checked out, bagging the joy separately from the foodstuffs.  The bags sat on Little Cuter's bed and then the contents moved to the shipping boxes which I closed with my holiday themed packing tape, and then re-taped because the fancy stuff was flapping up before the night was over.

There was one box for the newlyweds and one box for my big boy and I would have taken pictures if I'd known that this was to be the last one.... ever.... until I have grandchildren.... and, as she reminded me, she can't really do that before Halloween.

Big Cuter told me the same thing years ago, but I have moved from accepting his "please, Mom, no more toys!" to ignoring it entirely.  He loves me.  He never says a thing. I don't look for the stuff when I visit, I don't ask if he likes it, I just send it.

It makes me happy. It costs very little.  I imagine them opening the items, one by one, "Oh, MOM!" on their lips and a shake of the head.  I'm not the usual parental unit. I've come to terms with that. I am at peace. The things they love about me are also the things that make them crazy. It is what it is. I can be shaped around the edges, but the center will hold.

Until now.

With love in her voice, and warmth coating every word, Little Cuter begged me not to send her any more tchotchkes.  (Choch-keys in transliteration.) We are talking knickknacks, if you're Episcopal, souvenirs, small items of little intrinsic value but often great emotional significance.  She understands all of that, and yet she was asking me to stop.

"We're grown ups, Mom."

I know. I know. I try to deny it but it's true. They have their own lives and their own homes and their own shelves on which my treasures are an unwanted addition, something to move, to dust, to take up space. My boxes bring guilt - they won't use the stuff but they can't throw it out.

I pouted.  I told her that my lower lip was beyond the driveway and in danger of being squished by passing cars.  She was unmoved.  She held her ground. She made her point. I was convinced.

Still, I wish I had known that was the last box I'll be sending.  I'd have taken a picture, for sure.


  1. At first I hated it when my MIL would send everything with our last name on it to our house. Now, I actually like all the little knick knacks, the door signs etc... Even my kids have started playing with the toys that my husband played with as a kid. The real treasure was when my brother-in-law sent my little man Tonka toys from when he was a kid. Man, those things are heavy and little man loves playing with them. If they could survive 40 years, they are quality made and a real treasure. I'm sure my little man will hand them down to his own kids.

    I am getting ready to clean-out our playroom and will only keep the toys that are ones my kids cannot part with. Otherwise, I give to friends and put on Freecycle. LOVE Freecycle. It's awesome. You post what you want to give away, you will get lots of people wanting your stuff, you reply to the one you want to take it and then they come and get it. It's so easy.

    If Little Cuter doesn't want to keep some of the Tchotchkes, have her put them on Freecycle. It's also refreshing paring down. I was so bad at one point this past year, the kids in our neighborhood asked my daughter why people kept showing-up at house and taking items from the bench out front. Once I get on a roll, it's hard to stop. I also like it because I know it's not ending up in a landfill and that someone has made the effort to come get it.

    Have a great Tuesday.

    Megan xxx

    1. Great idea, Megan! I told her she could give it to the neighbor girl who brought them brownies when they moved in.

      Happy October... and Happy Tonka Toys!


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