the slow letting go

No, this post is not about my mother. It’s about letting go of stuff. Physical stuff. My stuff.
My brother is cleaning out his basement, and I still have stuff in there left from when I moved here more than a year ago. One of the boxes held what I came to think of as my “professional portfolio,” e.g. many of the articles, grant proposals, profiles, etc. etc. that I had been paid to write over the course of my professional career. I kept them in case I needed to look for another job. I never intended to spend 20 years with, and retire from, the state’s Education Department.
Tonight I threw it all away. It no longer matters that one of my funded proposals was used by the National Science Foundation as a model. It no longer matters that the Chairman of the Biochemistry Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute sent me a note thanking me for turning my lengthy interview with him into a well-written and interesting profile. And so into the trash went everything I wrote for other people that got them what they wanted. All of that no longer matters.
What I did save was a box of stuff about my kids — newpaper articles, writings, report cards, and, suprisingly, my son’s (that’s b!X) assessment report from his year at a Montessori Pre-School some thirty-three years ago. What his teacher said about him then is pretty much what those who know him would probably say about him now. Except maybe for one thing — which might or might not still be true: “frequently bursts into song.”
When my daughter and her family come to visit here in a few weeks, I will give her what I have saved about her. It’s time for her to begin amassing her own box documenting her history that will get stored in her basement.
My brother tells me that I have one last box in his basement that is labelled “craft stuff.” I have no idea what’s in it, but I’m readying myself to let it go.

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