For three months and some I stalled and piddled around about going through the last few boxes of stuff Kirby left. He packed his closet and straightened what he was leaving on the shelves in his room. We told him we'd keep it as it was for a year, as it was, in case he wanted to move back.
Holly commandeered his bathroom, and photographs it frequently for MySpace. The XBox that Marty bought Kirby's share in (Kirby bought a new one in Austin) is still in there, and my computer, recently, but that's changing soon (my computer and the printer are going back downstairs).
Yet in the front room were five boxes of toys and hats and comics and books that Kirby was undecided about. He didn't want them, but he said Holly and I should go through and see if there were things we wanted, or what would be worth giving away.
Each time I started in on that, I felt angst and agitation. I asked Marty and Holly for help sometimes, and then we all three stalled.
But it's done now. Marty pulled out things he wanted a few days ago, I got some advice from both of them, and this morning I finished off the job. There are boxes of things for the thrift store (in the trunk of the car), a trashbag of things not worth giving to the thrift store, half a bag of recycling (better-quality plastic single-substance parts and items), and one box of things I thought might be useful for Halloween someday or for grandkids to dig through in an imagined possible future. There's a small box of parts and pieces to be re-filed with the proper collections or games.
Now I have space in that room and in my emotions for a Christmas tree. Sheeeesh, it wasn't easy. Every thing I touched was something Kirby had touched when he was four, or six, or ten, or fourteen, and then chucked aside when he was twenty-one. His whole life was passing before my eyes.
And another level of anxiety was added to the other (though I was keeping myself calm and amused and happy with happy-thoughts). I was feeling a light sorrow and regret, partly for burdening him with so much junk. Yet every single thing in there was something he played with and learned from and outgrew. That's good! The anxiety I was fighting down involved guilty feelings about my self-pity.
Kirby is alive and well. He sleeps in a warm place. He has a job, a car, and food. He has a roommate he gets along well with. He has an intact family to come home to, and on January 13 he's scheduled to arrive here for a visit
I think it was related to a sort of survivor's guilt, although that states it too strongly. My three children are at magical ages on the doorstep of adulthood. Three pregnancies, three grown to the age of reproduction and independence, without major injury or disease. I wish all moms could have that. And in thinking of those who were not so fortunate as I am, I'm kind of ashamed of my strong feelings about toys and childhood set aside by Mr. Kendall Kirby Dodd who outgrew his need for the nest and moved on into the world.
This mom-job isn't as easy as some people make it look.