Stuff and things, things and stuff

Boy, it’s too bad none of you had any opinions about my wedding dress. (Wait, is this a TOMATO someone threw at my head, there? C’mon, now. That would’ve been lovely on your salad, come lunchtime.)

I have to tell you that I was ready to rid myself of the wedding dress without a backwards glance; I was just unsure of the best avenue for doing do. But after 80-odd comments exhorting me to THINK OF THE CHILDREN (specifically, to think of how my daughter might consider such a thing), I made a terrible mistake. I asked Chickadee about it.

And she begged me to keep the dress. OF COURSE. I mean, I had known she would, which is why I hadn’t asked her in the first place. And I hadn’t decided not to ask her because I knew she’d want it and I’ve set my heart on being a horrible monster who disregards her feelings, but because there is NOTHING on the planet that Chickadee doesn’t want to keep. Forever.

Both of my children are incurable pack rats. I am lazy about decluttering, often, but I am not a sentimental hanger-on-er, for the most part.

I have a box of “school stuff” I keep in the closet. Each year, I add a few select items from the reams and reams of papers the kids bring home every week. As the children get older, the items I add to the box become fewer. Because I want to remember that once upon a time Chickadee believed you cook a turkey at 900 degrees for six minutes, and that Monkey’s first girlfriend consumed him, but the fact that now they can do long division and are mastering fractions, well, doesn’t seem quite so important.

I own almost nothing from my childhood, and that’s fine with me. When Otto and his brother helped me do the final clean-out of my house in New England, Wild Thing threw my box of high school and college journals (which I’d been toting around the country for years) into the trash. When I realized this, I stopped to consider, for a moment, if they were worth digging out. It was with some relief that I realized my need to clutch those difficult times had passed, and I no longer needed to carry around the paper proof that I existed back then.

Nothing makes me happier than clean and tidy spaces, and things like the three boxes which have gone unpacked for two years are more a casualty of guilt than sentimentality—I feel like I should WANT to keep that stuff, even though I really don’t.

The superfluous things I like to spend money on all DO things, too—I am not, and never have been, a collector of things simply meant to BE. I covet kitchen gadgets that will make my food preparation both simpler and more geeky. I like pretty shoes that will make me feel sassy when I wear them. Sometimes in the wee hours of the night I find myself doing things like ordering dwarf lime trees because HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE, to just stroll out onto the deck the next time I need a little lime juice?

A while ago I was sorting through one of those maybe-I-should-keep-these-things boxes and came across a picture of Chickadee and a friend of hers from kindergarten. The picture itself was unremarkable—it was taken, I think, at a birthday party—and the girls are half-turned away from the camera and the exposure is poor and neither of us could remember the name of the other child. But when I made to throw it away, Chickie burst into tears and begged me not to. She wanted to keep it, because it was “a part of her life.”

And before you get down “awwww”ing, let me also point out that during the recent Spring cleaning I also found an abundance of things like crumpled scraps of paper that said “sit here” or “admit one” or “library list” that my daughter ALSO insisted were parts of her life and therefore could never, ever be thrown away.

It’s not that I don’t believe in saving special things. I crocheted a blanket for each child while I was pregnant with them; those are carefully wrapped and stored and will be given back to them for their own babies, someday.

But I cannot keep that wedding gown. It was a mistake to bring it up to Chickadee, and now I feel sad that she’s going to be angry at me about it, but I just can’t. She can borrow the pearls I wore, or the earrings I borrowed from my mother that day. And the engagement ring her father bought me will, as planned, be made into a pendant for her when she’s older. There will be reminders and memory-laden items and history to pass along to her. I’m not trying to erase the past; neither do I think my daughter’s propensity for saving everything should extend to harboring a giant box with a singular purpose, full of so many things it pains me to remember.

The dress is going away. I hope she’ll forgive me, and make new, happier memories—more about love, and less about stuff.

66 Responses to “Stuff and things, things and stuff”

  1. 1
    Megan April 15, 2009 at 10:50 am #

    Oh boy do I hear you. I have gone through… at LEAST four major bouts of “do I really, REALLY want/need to keep this prayshus thing forever” decluttering sessions and I still have far too much in boxes and bins. At this point it’s about 10% due to my inability to let go and 90% down to the Children (of whom one is totally the guiltiest and most Chickadee-esque). I keep sane by telling myself that some day I will move again and that will give the impetus to really do what I should have done ages ago, but in the meantime the garage is a pretty visual reminder of what it is to be boxed in by the past.

  2. 2
    Amelia April 15, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    Yaaaaay for you! The things in your home should make your life easier and more pleasant, not drag you down. Keep modeling that kind of attitude, and I’m sure Chickie will come around as she grows.

    (And just for the record? My mom had 4 girls, a happy marriage, and an “archived” dress. None of us even tried it on.)

  3. 3
    hollygee April 15, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    If you want to save anything of it for Chickie, consider cutting some of the fabric or decorative feature, wrapping it up and saving it for her special occasion (I realize that this makes a poor donation to Goodwill). It could become a ring pillow, as many suggested yesterday, or be incorporated into her her dress. Thus sayeth the fabric-crazy crafter.

    On the other hand, someone will appreciate getting that dress, whole and unmolested.

  4. 4
    Burgh Baby April 15, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    I pity Chickie’s future significant other. As someone who is married to a sentimental packrat, I know that pain. It’s harsh.

  5. 5
    Rini April 15, 2009 at 11:13 am #

    Good for you, making the decision that makes your life better. She’ll live. :)

  6. 6
    Susan April 15, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    My daughter had to save everything too – just like her grandmother. But she got over it. When she moved to a small apartment she decided no more knickknacks, very little sentimental junk. And I was allowed to throw out tons of stuff she’d saved at my house.

  7. 7
    Jenn April 15, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    Good decision. In the end, it’s just stuff. Trust me, in the end, she’d rather have the jewelry. :)

  8. 8
    Groovecatmom April 15, 2009 at 11:22 am #

    Good for you! My mom made her first engagement ring into a pendant (for herself!) that I will give my daughter someday. And like I am constantly telling my children who have pack ratish tendencies–you just can’t keep everything. You can’t. Interesting about the journals. I read thru some of mine a while ago–who was that weirdo who wrote that stuff? The older I get, the less sentimental I am. Or at least, the sentimentality rears in different ways than keeping stuff.

  9. 9
    Laura GF April 15, 2009 at 11:25 am #

    She’ll live but it’s still pretty lame to bring it up to her, ask her if she’d like to keep it and then (apparently?) on the same day decide to disregard her wishes.

    Could you send it off to her dad? He could hold onto it for her and you don’t have to have it in your house. You get to declutter a painful object and he gets to play the “hero” — sounds right up his alley from what I’ve read :)

  10. 10
    Jodi April 15, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    Good for you! I did not keep my dress from my first wedding. It was a big white symbol of failure and I hated it.

    I thought about this a lot yesterday. About all the crap I kept when I was younger: ticket stubs, notes, glasses stolen from bars (did I just say that?), boyfriend’s t-shirts, empty plant pots (at least not pot plants, right?).

    Crap, crap, all crap. Under 30 I think I was in the “acquisition” phase. Now that I squeaked past 40 I want to shed stuff. Lots of stuff. Even shoes…

  11. 11
    GirlPastor April 15, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    I did not have a chance to weigh in on the keep/not keep discussion…but here are my two cents. I say pitch the box and donate the dress. And in the grand sceme of things I think that you should do what you need to do. In the long run, Chickadee will come to understand. It is not about the stuff. It is about what you do with the memories and the lessons that we learn. I hope that you continue to keep what needs to be kept and remove what needs to be removed…we need to cut away the dead and move on with the living. Keep the dress you wore when you married your beloved Otto…that will mean more in the long run. May you continue to be a blessing to your kids, Otto, your family, and the internet community you reach every day.
    Many Smiles

  12. 12
    MisaGracie April 15, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    I’m sad to read that you threw out your school stuff. I am not a sentimental type either – I don’t usually place emotional value on inanimate objects.

    Why do I keep think people should keep these things? Well, for future generations. When my grandmother died we spent hours sorting through old pictures, journals and such. It brought her to life again and helped us connect some dots to our family genalogy. Now that I am researching my father’s family (he passed about 13 years ago), finding even the smallest hint to his early life is like uncovering a treasure. Had my aunts and great-aunts thrown away their old books and paper memories I would have nothing of the man I miss.

    As for the dress – I agree with you. When she’s older she’ll understand better. Maybe if you cut it up and made it into something that she could use (like a fancy pillow or decorative throw) it would suit two purposes. You wouldn’t have to look at the dress taking up storage space and she’d have a piece of her history to keep.

  13. 13
    Angela April 15, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    Given that pack rat mentality I think you’re right. And I am totally anti letting her keep the whole dress. But if she wanted to wrap a scrapbook in part of the skirt I’m game for that. But I’d require the dress had to be cut up and used to be kept. And well, I’m sure you need another project to guilt yourself into.

  14. 14
    Debbi April 15, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    Good choice. She will be fine. :-) You always make the best decision.

  15. 15
    O.G. April 15, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    I used to be a pack rat, but as I’ve gotten older I find it unnecessary to keep most things. I think it’s because of how often I move. I hate to have to pack tons of stuff. Hopefully your daughter will understand and be excited that she gets to make her own memories.

  16. 16
    Jess April 15, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    My daughter is very similar to Chickadee, and I think you’ve made the right decision. Hopefully, she will see that as well. :)

  17. 17
    Lylah April 15, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    Maybe the dress can get lost at the dry-cleaners (“It wasn’t quite a good colour after sitting around for so many years!) and then she can get mad at some faceless company instead?

    Or maybe she can dress up in it now, take a picture, scrapbook that, and then help you donate the dress to goodwill, so someone else can use a beautiful dress *now* instead of having it sit in storage until Chicky discovers that it doesn’t fit her too-tall self?

    I’m a packrat. My “paper proof I existed back then” is still in a bin in my basement; I dug through it and reread my earliest journals (from 7th grade) outloud to my teenage daughters and then, when we were done laughing and they’d gone to bed, I threw away most of the others. Why did I think I’d ever want to relive some of those angsty times?

  18. 18
    kim April 15, 2009 at 12:11 pm #

    She’ll be fine. She’ll move on to the next extremely sentimental can’t live without it item before too long. I don’t believe in hanging on to things that have no real or sentimental value to you. And I especially believe in getting rid of items that actually cause you pain. You can’t shield her from every sadness and disappointment.
    Take care.

  19. 19
    Jodi April 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    I do not know the circumstances around your first marriage or why it ended but as the child of divorced parents, I beg you to keep your first dress!! My mom kept hers (and it was a painful divorce I tell ‘ya!) for me and only me. And you know what she did with it when I got married? She had a pillow made out of it for my husband and I. She also had a christening gown made from it. While the memories surronding the dress are obviously painful the new memories that could be made are wonderful! I am all about throwing crap away. While my parents saved my play skool toys my kids went in the first yard sale after they stopped playing with them! I am not a sentimental person but I do know that the pillow is pretty neat. Although it IS just sitting in my hope chest. Collecting dust. With no one looking at it.

  20. 20
    jen April 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm #

    Good for you on the wedding dress. I made my husband live with the dress from my first marriage in a box in the garage for at least a year. What a sucky thing to do. I completely mangled it and wore it as a Corpse Bride costume for halloween and then gave it away at a yard sale. My life feels lighter for not having that thing around.

  21. 21
    Megumi April 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    This falls into the “gotta do what you gotta do” camp of life – the dress is in a large box and the existence of it in your home harbors some memories that perhaps you don’t want to be reminded of time and time again. I’m not even sure a person could stomach it being brought out to “play with” for dress up or whatever. Admittedly I was in the “save it maybe she’ll use part of it for something” camp but honestly, the pain it brings you isn’t worth it.

    Chickadee will have plenty of wonderful and sentimental items to hold onto for her very special moments in life.

  22. 22
    Jennifer Joyner April 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    You are right to get rid of the dress! Giving her something that actually means something to you is going to be so much more powerful, when the time comes.

  23. 23
    Jodi April 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    On second thought, toss it! Though I like the thought that the pillow is from my parents wedding, her engagement ring that she had set in a ring for me is much more special and a heck of a lot more practical! Not to mention it takes up a lot less space.

  24. 24
    Steph April 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    I didn’t comment on your other post either. Mostly because I am very anti keeping things/clutter and EVERYONE else seemed the opposite.

    I vote that you sell the dress on Ebay/Craigslist, then do something fun with the kids with the money you make. I’ll bet Chickadee will get over it faster if you wave something shiny in front of her:)

    Also btw, I was a huge pack rat as a child. Now, not so much. My mom still has her wedding dress and besides looking at it once when I was a little kid, I’ve never done anything with it. Doesn’t everyone want their own dress anyways?

  25. 25
    exile on mom street April 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    Do what is best for you, and both you and your girl will be happier in the long run.

  26. 26
    Ashlea April 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    I wouldve burned the thing years ago, ceremoniously.

    do what gives you the most pleasure…

  27. 27
    Mara April 15, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    Good for you. As an attempting-to-reform packrat myself, I say PLEASE do everything you can to help Chickie overcome this tendency– help her learn that it’s OK to throw away a birthday card or photograph without destroying the memory. I wish my folks had done that for me!

  28. 28
    Leslie April 15, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

    Mir,
    I struggled with the wedding dress issue as well and hung onto it until last fall when we were making a cross country move. My daughter is a pack rat as well ( especially if she can store her “treasures” at MY house). At her age now ( 24) and seeing her father get married last week for the third time ( I was v.1.0) she now understands the bad karma attached to that dress and with her approval I most delightedly threw it in the trash. I don’t know how much this helps you in your situation but perhaps you can tell her that you feel it would be bad luck for her to wear ( have, keep) a wedding dress from a marriage that didn’t work out.

  29. 29
    windylou April 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    I don’t recall reading this idea in any of the comments, forgive me if it has already been mentioned.

    My mother and her family are all HORRIBLE pack rats. MAYO from 1997, type saving. The only thing that doesn’t cause my mom serious trauma when throwing things out is to take a photo of the item, so that she can see and remember the item, but the actual “thing” doesn’t clutter up her house.

    Now chickadee knows about the dress, so that’s sticky, but would she accept a photo of the dress or a photo of her in the dress now as an acceptable substitute? Maybe you could save some lace from the train (or something similar) that won’t totally ruin the dress?

    Good luck with whatever you finally decide.

  30. 30
    Lori in MN April 15, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    So sorry about Chickadee’s reaction; the same thing would have happened at my house. I come from a long line of packrats, and my husband can’t stand to have more clothes than he can fit in one dresser. And, bless their hearts, the kids are just like me.

    I would love to know if a professional could help me (the decluttering kind, not the head kind!).

  31. 31
    Jodi April 15, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    I saw one of those “hoarding” shows once and they had the best piece of advice.

    TAKE A PICTURE of chickadee with the wedding dress. Then she can always look back at the picture but you don’t have to keep the actual dress.

    I do that with kids artwork, favorite items of clothing that are too small, stuffed animals, etc.

    A picture is much easier to store than the actual item. And aren’t we really just hanging onto the item because of the memories it brings back? A picture can do the same thing.

  32. 32
    Heather April 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    I totally understand.

  33. 33
    Lindy April 15, 2009 at 3:14 pm #

    When my brother was little he would throw fits and insist mom keep his old, used band-aids. Nasty. But they were part of his life! He’s still a nasty, horrid slob of a pack rat (the college thing doesn’t help), but he’s at least gotten over the band-aids thing.

    And I’m pretty sure she’ll get over the wedding gown. I never understood the daughter wearing mom’s old gown thing. I guess it’s a novelty in a way and now an antique, but my mother’s was hideous lacy poofy sleeved 1981 thing, and I’d have never, ever, ever considered wearing it on my special pretty princess day, even if I could actually have fit my boobs into the thing. And I think she’d have been absolutely horrified as well if I’d suggested I wanted to wear it. Bleh.

  34. 34
    Tracy April 15, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Good job—Chickie will be fine. She probably won’t even remember any thing more about the dress until her time comes to wear one. In which case, she’ll be worrying about how to tell you she wants her own. A life lesson I learned. =o)

  35. 35
    Amelia April 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

    Lori in MN: try http://www.flylady.net

    I think you’d like her.

  36. 36
    Susan April 15, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    I would donate it…ebay seems like too much work when you can just drop it off and let it go. Your daughter will just have to deal with it; I am a huge fabric-saver, but I think making anything with a first-wedding-dress is just looking for bad vibes. If the dress itself does not have special meaning, and does not have good memories attached, then an object made with it isn’t going to either. In general I think taking a picture is a great solution for commemorating something that had meaning but which you don’t want to or can’t keep, but I think it would make things worse to take a picture with Chickadee and then swoop it away again. It’s not like the marriage was cut off in full bloom because of sudden tragedy…it was divorce. Your daughter may be mad at you, but it was *your* dress, and it’s your feelings and preferences that count here. It’s not like it was an heirloom passed down in anyone’s family or something. Just get it out of the house, let it go.

    I would go through those boxes, just in case something is squirreled away that you do want to keep, but you should be very very ruthless. Do it when the kids aren’t around!

  37. 37
    Katie in MA April 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

    Here’s a thought – and please don’t kill me, because I am confessedly an everything’s-sentimental kind of person – could you keep the dress box and let her use it to keep her momentos in? It could be a neat compromise…you lose the dress, she gets the box that stored it. AND as a special bonus, she can keep only so many papers as fits into it. Extra super bonus if it fits under her bed.

  38. 38
    Kate Setzer Kamphausen April 15, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    I couldn’t agree with you more. But don’t pass up the snark opportunity – there are so many BORING not to mention UNGRAMMATICAL seller entries on eBay that yours would be a breath of fresh air and a blessing!

    Not to mention that you could talk all about how you’ve broken any bad luck that might be inherent to the dress and the buyer clearly will have only Good Marital Luck from here on out …… or something like that!

  39. 39
    Karen April 15, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    Wow. I actually got teary reading this post. I am a sentimental person. I can’t help it. It is who I am. And my mother is dead. And she won’t be there on my wedding day. But I thank god that I have the option of having her dress (or whatever parts of her dress I want to incorporate into my dress). Part of me thinks that I don’t even want a wedding because you have to get a dress for a wedding and that is something that a mother does with her daughter and my mother is not around to do it with me.

    If it is about teaching her not to be a pack rat, do it with something other than the wedding dress.

  40. 40
    Lucy April 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    Gosh. I share the same outlook. The wedding dress makes you sad. Don’t keep it.

    My mother has her wedding dress. I tried it on eons ago. It didn’t make me sentimental and teary eyed. It smelt a bit weird and I am soooooo not the same body type.

    I loved wearing the pendant that she wore, and my aunt wore, and my cousin wore, and my grandmother wore … that was beautiful.

    Have you read ‘Archivist Alison’ on the different ways that people think about ‘things’?

  41. 41
    Lucinda April 15, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    I think you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. My parents divorced. My mom kept the dress and offered it to me when I got married. I wanted nothing to do with it. It was very dated and I wasn’t interested. I agree that it’s a great opportunity to teach that love is far more important than stuff.

    That said, I do keep things sometimes that have little meaning to me that I think my kids will find interesting when I’m gone. Letters, pictures, etc. that will give them (and perhaps their children) a glimpse of who I was before they came along and even now when they still see me through the eyes of children. It’s history, perspective, whatever. But it’s also limited. I will not be controlled by my stuff. lol

  42. 42
    Lori April 15, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

    My mom saved her wedding dress and neither my sister nor I wore it in our weddings. Styles change. Tastes differ. And what Chickadee will want to wear on her wedding day is completely unpredictable today.

  43. 43
    mamajama April 15, 2009 at 5:46 pm #

    I’m glad you are getting rid of it. It just seems like bad juju to keep it around. Chickadee will understand (if not now then later). I am sure she will want the jewels instead anyway. My mother got rid of her dress that she wore when marrying my father (and they are still happily married). She is a major declutterer. She kept the lace from it, but as someone else said, almost everyone wants their own dress anyway. I know I did.

  44. 44
    TC April 15, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    I used to think we were separated at birth…but no more. No, I’m not talking about the wedding dress–pffft, get rid of it, move on. (Mine’s hanging–not in a box, not even in a garment bag–in my closet. But it was from a second-hand shop to begin with, and is lacy but not BIG. My kids like using it for playing dress-up, and I just like looking at it. Also, I’m still married to the guy I wore it for. In your case? It’d have been gone the day BEFORE the divorce papers were signed.)

    But YOUR JOURNALS? I can’t even make myself get rid of the NOTES I used to pass in junior high school, 90% of which are written by or to people I couldn’t pick out of a lineup, and contain in-jokes so in that I have no idea what they mean. Still…throw them away? NEVER.

    Hey. I never claimed not to be pathological!

  45. 45
    Michele Bardsley April 15, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    Life is lived in moments, not collected in things. I’m not a sentimentalist, either. I believe in living a quality life, not one weighed down by reminders of the past, whether or not those reminders are sorrowful or joyful. If I’m constantly thinking about what happened before, it makes it difficult for me to enjoy what’s unfolding now.

    At the end of the day, no matter what you discussed with Chickadee, the decision about the wedding dress was yours to make. It’s tough when we disappoint our children, but it’s worse when we allow guilt to influence our decisions. That’s how regrets are made.

    Rock on, Mir.

  46. 46
    Daisy April 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    More about love, less about stuff. Well said as always. Straight from the heart. (and with fewer fragments than my comment, too)

  47. 47
    Tam King April 15, 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    BURGH BABY – I am a sentimental packrat. My husbands pain is harsh :)

  48. 48
    BethRD April 15, 2009 at 8:46 pm #

    As a person who accumulates stuff, I have to admit that “more about love, less about stuff” makes me cringe just a bit. I’m not a MAGPIE. I’m not collecting stuff for the sheer shiny materialistic glee of it. A lot of the stuff I keep is, well, about love, and identity, and memory. I’ve learned a lot over the years about being careful to keep only those things that are really, truly important to me, but I still have a lot more of those things than a lot of people do. I think people who don’t invest stuff with emotion think that people who do are just cluttering what could be nice neat spaces for the sheer hell of it, but we’re not. I can totally see how it can get to be pathological for some people (one of the things that keeps me honest is my memory of helping clean out my parents’ basement when they retired) but I hate to hear keeping stuff put down as materialistic when really, it’s all about emotion. Although I value clean and tidy spaces (at least in theory) there is something that does make me happier, which is having the things around me that I’ve invested with meaning.

    Chickadee is your daughter of course, and you can’t keep everything for her sake, especially if it’s causing you pain. I just hate to hear the ‘love’ and the ‘stuff’ mentioned as if they’re always in opposition to each other. For some people they may be, the people who feel love best in clean airy spaces with nothing to distract them, but other people may love best in museums they’ve built for themselves of their own things, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

  49. 49
    Jessalyn April 15, 2009 at 9:34 pm #

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has had the urge to trash her wedding dress. I haven’t done it, but I have wanted to on many an occasion.

  50. 50
    Noelle April 15, 2009 at 10:14 pm #

    My mother’s wedding dress was a white mini-dress. Size four. My wedding dress was a size fourteen. I couldn’t have worn hers even if I wanted to, and trust me, I thought it was hideous and wouldn’t have worn it even if she had paid me. Chickadee’s taste in dresses may turn out to be completely different than yours by the time she walks down the aisle.

    Toss the dress.

  51. 51
    Nancy R April 15, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    THAT’S why I didn’t have an opinion on the dress! My girls would have reacted the same way.

  52. 52
    mama speak April 16, 2009 at 1:44 am #

    I find it interesting the posts that generate controversy. I know you know about Flylady. I was a super follower of hers for a while & then I had a 2nd baby, moved, remodeled and herniated a disc in my back & it all went to heck. When I was on her deal my life was so much easier & more free feeling. I’ve never gone totally off, but I don’t declutter regularly like I used to. (I finally had surgery & am getting better so I think I may be able to get back to it soon, but that’s another topic.)

    My MIL is pack rat to the Nth degree. She’s actually a hoarder, but she has a big house, so it’s pack rat still. She literally saved every toy/book/school paper my husband and his brother every owned. She is now bringing all this crap into my house. I finally told her, “If you save everything than nothing is special.” She hasn’t really gotten it yet, but I do. Into the trash or donation bin it all goes, right after they leave.
    I imagine you have wedding pix from that day. Give those to Chickie.

  53. 53
    Barbara April 16, 2009 at 7:27 am #

    Having your own lime tree IS VERY COOL. We had a bumper crop last year and actually gave away many.

  54. 54
    Angela April 16, 2009 at 8:03 am #

    Just an idea… but before you donate the dress, is there a small area where you could cut a square piece of fabric? Turn it into a handkerchief? Give that to Chickadee on her wedding day. You could even have it embroidered with her initials. My mother did that, and it was incredibly special. She also turned her veil into our First Communion veils. But she was crafty like that. Me, not so much.

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    Jane April 16, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    I love your blog, and I think you are great parent. However… remember that the dress is a symbol of a time when you and her father loved each other. Although things are much different now, it is something that represents a huge event that led to Chickadee’s existence. To just dangle that in front of her and then toss it away, that just seems… heartless. Not that you are or ever could be, I certainly don’t want this to seem as if I’m attacking you! Give it to her, let her keep it in her room, so that it isn’t in your sight daily. But remember that the dress itself stands for something more than just a garment in her mind. And someday, if she gets married, she won’t think “what if we had kept that dress?”. I used my mother’s wedding ring from her and my father’s failed marriage. It reminds me that at one time, they actually liked each other. I like to picture them as young hopeful people. Give Chickadee that chance!

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    lynn April 16, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    I didn’t see the last post, but I’ll share my story, which is that I bought my wedding dress 10 years ago at a bridal consignment shop (Vows Bridal Outlet in Newton, MA) for $450, wore it, loved it, and then sold it back to the resale shop for $250. Woo hoo! I knew I’d never wear it again and felt that any hypothetical future daughter (HFD) would much prefer to pick out her own gown. Love your idea of passing on earrings – HFD can certainly borrow my pearls. But dresses seem like they’re totally not worth the trouble of preserving.

    I’m very sentimental, but mostly with photos and journaling – we have way too many boxes of stuff saved and stored as it is.

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    Andrea April 16, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    Great decision! And I bet when the time came, Chickadee would want to go shopping with you and pick out her own special dress. And that experience, alone, is priceless.

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    Aimee April 16, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    Well, I’m one of the people who said to ask Chickie, but I totally get what you’re saying and why you made the decision you did. I think when her day comes she’ll be really happy to have your pearls and/or your mom’s earrings to wear.

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    Marsha April 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    I agree with the one post (that I agreed with ha ha) I can’t believe you would get rid of the dress. My parents’ divorce was quite ugly and my mom can STILL not stand my father (I am 41 – they divorced when I was 8). My mom saved it and several other things (her wedding ring which she just gave me) for me and just recently made a dvd for me and my brother of their wedding. I just can’t put my opinions and feelings about this into words right now…. but you don’t think she will remember this, but she will. It meant so much to me that my mom (who was the “meanest” mom in the neighborhood in my standards)and spewed all kinds of profanity about my dad throughout the years.. STILL kept a few things cause she knew I would cherish them one day. And I do.

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    crockpot lady April 16, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    I love reading your comments—-you have the best readers, ever.

    If my mom didn’t have a huge-ass house and WANT to hold on to my wedding dress, I would have passed it on to someone who could use it. I’ve tried to talk her into it, even. and I am super happily married!

    xoox steph

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    Kristen April 16, 2009 at 4:02 pm #

    I’ve never been married and at this point have no desire to get married, but I’d give anything to have my mother’s wedding dress.

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    tammy April 17, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    I might be very unpopular after this but here goes…you have been saving this dress for years. You asked your daughter if she wanted to keep it and she said yes as expected because what girl wouldn’t want her mother’s wedding dress? And now the dress’ existence in your house is so bothersome that you must get rid of it thisveryminute.
    Out of respect for her wishes and in the spirit of the dress as a symbol of the union that brought you Chickadee, I think you should hang onto the dress…for now. After a few years and some heartbreaks of her own, she may come around. Even if she understands why you didn’t listen to her wishes and got rid of the dress, she will never forget that you asked and did what you wanted anyway. That whole pack rat thing is just justification for doing what you want to do.

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    nil zed April 19, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    I’m sure you can make the ‘valuing her opinion, but needing to make a different decision anyway’ discussion into a good lesson for Chickadee. Cause you are good at that sorta thing. Way better than me.

    My mom saves nothing, but she saved her wedding dress. I did want to wear the underdress, which amounted to a 1950′s, floor length strapless crinoline dress, as a prom dress. simply leave off the lacy bodice & skirt. voila, retro & free! I thought it a great plan, but she wouldn’t go along. I had no interest in wearing it as a wedding dress, nor do I think she would have let me. it’s very out of character for her to have even saved it, & I don’t even see why if she didn’t want to pass it on.

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    ImpostorMom April 20, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    I don’t get overly sentimental about things either. As I said before I sold my dress the second we got home from the honeymoon because it was nothing more than a dress to me. I also assumed that any daughter I might have would most likely want to pick out her own wedding dress. I did save my veil and my $17 shoes I wore that day. And if I ever have a daughter, I’ll offer those things to her.

    For me, as a child of divorce I would have never considered using anything from my parents marriage in my own wedding ceremony. (Granted, my mother married my father in a white mini dress at the courthouse, but still.) I have my mother’s rings and they are home in my jewelry box, I think. To me these things do not symbolize a time when my parents loved each other but more a symbol of the relationship’s failure. That probably says a lot more about me and how I view their split and my childhood than anything else, but I suppose I don’t get this whole idea of the dress being such an important symbol.

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    Stephanie April 21, 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    I am married to the father of my daughter, but, got rid of my wedding dress *years* before she was born. I’m actually sort of sad about that, but, such is life.

    I can also see the point of view about just hanging onto the dress a while longer. You know…kids don’t see things in the “logical” and ‘rational” way we adults (should). ;-) There could be things tied to your getting rid of the dress that will never leave her psyche. I’m not saying you’re going to *ruin* her by doing it. But, you’ve opened the barn door, so to speak, by asking her if she wants it. I wouldn’t spend the money to have it heirloomed or anything, but can’t you find *somewhere* for it? A super high closet shelf, an attic, or, even, as someone mentioned…the ex’s house…? I will admit…I *am* sentimental about some things. I don’t care what some say…looking at some *things* brings back the feelings and memories associated with them. While Chickadee doesn’t have any memories associated with your wedding dress, as someone very astutely pointed out, it *was* worn when you loved and were committed to her father and she is the result of that.

    I am the child of divorced parents. I couldn’t stand my father. He was a mean, sadistic, sick person. I wouldn’t have wanted my mother’s wedding dress, had she kept it. However, Chickadee *does* have a relationship with her father (and, really…no matter how bad he is to you, as long as he’s a decent father to them, I’m glad for Chickadee and Monkey that he cares for them. Not having a father can really mess a kid up.)

    Please don’t be mad at me for giving you my honest and unsolicited opinion. I promise, I only give it out of genuine concern for Chickadee (and you). :-)

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