Let me be frank, I’m a bit of a pack rat. I come from a long line of them – on both sides of my family. We keep stuff…especially stuff that someone in our family, sometime, might someday use. That being said, I have a lot of…well, stuff.
We moved into our current home nearly 5 years ago. While I’m embarrassed to admit this, we actually have some boxes that had not been opened since I packed them 5 years ago; that is until this past weekend. You see I’m preparing for a Garage Sale. Our neighborhood hosts one annually (and does the promoting and obtains necessary permits) and since this is the first year we haven’t had a direct conflict, I decided it was Time (with a capital “T.”)
Along with a bunch of junk that I unearthed this weekend (that I can’t believe I actually kept, much less packed into a moving box), I’ve unpacked, uncovered and started preparing lots of paraphernalia we used when Ethan was a baby and toddler. We kept just about every reusable baby item possible to save on expenses because we planned to have two – maybe three – children when all was said and done. And, if simply going down memory lane, remembering Ethan’s sweet and precious early years so vividly while sorting through these items wasn’t enough; when we purchased this home, I was expecting our second child. I have always loved babies (even as a little girl and teenager) and loved, loved, loved having a newborn. I was so thrilled that we were expecting again and had such dreams of the kind of older brother Ethan would be. But, I lost our second baby before we could move in.
Ethan regressed significantly and he was floundering socially at his new, private Montessori preschool just months after we moved. “Autism,” “Asperger’s Syndrome,” and “Sensory Processing Disorder” took over our universe. We’ve been on a whirlwind tour of IEP meetings, early interventions, biomedical treatments, traditional therapies, sensory diets, supporting supplements, restrictive special diets, etc. ever since and I’m happy to report some really quite encouraging results. Would I change that? Never. He needed everything we've provided for him. Ethan is an amazing child with a lot to show for all that we have poured into him.
But, that kind of “pouring” doesn’t leave a lot of time or energy for unpacking boxes and having garage sales…or marriage…or trying again for another child. My husband was against "trying" again right after my miscarriage, our move and Ethan's diagnosis. And, since I'm being candid, our marriage has been a rocky, roller coaster of a relationship ever since. The "D" word has been seriously discussed, considered and discarded more than once in our house. Parenting is hard in and of itself. Parenting a child with special needs, well, it is not for the weak, so to speak.
With all that said, preparing for this garage sale has been overwhelming. Not just because my back, arms and legs ache from cleaning out the garage, lifting heavy boxes to move and unpack and determine what to sell, what to donate and what to keep…I kind of enjoy knowing that my muscles were put to such good use…I’m simply overwhelmed with difficult and conflicting emotions.
My husband thinks that if we sell all of our “baby” stuff (matching playpen, high chair, baby swing, infant car seat and stroller, etc.) that we’re throwing in the towel and saying, “We’re done having babies.” Maybe he’s right. Maybe he’s not. But either way, it is time for me to say goodbye to certain things…and I’m having a very hard time.
Leigh Attaway Wilcox is a writer and editor for the projectLD family of companies. Leigh is Assistant Editor of the internationally acclaimed AutismSpot.com and her work can be found on many of the pLDNetworks sites. Leigh is the author of ALL BETTER: A Touch-and-Heal Book published by Piggy Toes Press in 2007. Leigh lives in North Texas with her husband and young son who loves reading, LEGOs, Mario Bros. and also happens to live with Asperger's Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Disorder.