It’s the parental fear that no generation before ours has yet grappled with: the terror that our children will grow up to be on a reality show. My particular dread? I’m raising a prime-time “hoarder.”
Never one to pass a rock without dropping it in his pocket, my youngest child weeps and wails if I throw out a year-old, splay-bristled, paste-encrusted toothbrush. He has Valentine’s candy from 2011 crammed into keepsake boxes in his tchotchke-stocked bedroom.
And last weekend, the boy refused to relinquish a pair of skate shoes whose canvas had torn away from the rubber soles up front, exposing his toes as he walked and flapping open like a chatty cartoon mouth. Even my grandmother, raised on scraps in the Oklahoma dust bowl, would call them “hobo shoes.” Though he left the shoe store with two new pairs, he wouldn’t — couldn’t — throw the old ones in the trash. So I did.
“It’s just …” he started, “I have a lot of good memories with those shoes.” Perfect, I reasoned. Then you don’t need the actual shoes. And memories don’t take up room in the closet.
It’s a constant battle: His sentimentality versus my efficiency. He has collections and mementos; I have goals and checklists. He loves to reminisce and savor the past while I strive to produce and stay ahead of the clock.