I’ll readily admit that the hoarding gene runs deep and strong across the entire Lazy family. Truth is, every member of the Lazy clan has never met a random tchotchke or precious piece of paper that wasn’t the Most Important Thing, Ever. Ask busy daddy, and he’d tell you that I’ve inherited the Lazy Hoarding Gene in spades.
But I’m a mere amateur compared to my father. My father is a collector of collections. That would be fine if my father had a modicum of self-restraint—or at least some semblance of good taste. Instead, my father
hoards collects what most people discard after a single use: pieces of paper, newspapers, cardboard boxes, plants (mostly weeds), and paperback books. He also hoards collects DVDs, art books, bonsai trees, orchids, sculptures and furniture from exotic locals, and cameras.
Here’s the problem: to my father, a $30,000 hand-carved teak sculpture from Thailand has equal value to a 12-year-old post-it note with a single scribble on it. The result is a house that’s filled with both treasures and “treasures.” I’ve known for a long time that nothing was relative with my father. It was always all or nothing. Something has value (i.e., everything) or nothing has value (i.e., nothing because everything has value).
Aside from coordinating the logistics of day-to-day home care for my mother, we’ve spent the past few days cleaning my parents’ house. This is no small feat. I’ve tasked busy daddy and our niece Sasha to do the bulk of the cleaning, mostly because they are far more ruthless than I could ever be. Still, I know that my father is carefully watching each garbage bag that leaves his house, wondering if some of his Very Important Things are being tossed out.
This morning, as I was helping my mother get ready for the day, she mentioned to me that some of my father’s Very Important Things are in the kitchen pantry, and she wanted to make sure that they didn’t get thrown out. I asked her what these Very Important Things were, and she told me: mementos from my grandfather’s funeral, an ancient (and broken) brass tea kettle, a plastic utensils holder, and three, polka-dotted ice cream cups from the dollar store. I asked my mother why these things above all others (besides the mementos from my grandfather’s funeral) were of any value, and she told me because they are important to my father.
I can be ruthlessly unsentimental about my relationships with people, and I’m trying to become that way more with material things. When I’m with my parents (and my father, in particular), I realize so clearly that when everything is of the utmost value, then nothing is valuable.
It’s a Gordian knot. I don’t know what to keep and what to let go of anymore.
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- electradaddy said: Dear God. You are related to a white dude from Westchester County, New York. This sounds just like DynaPapa and his parents.
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- 6impossible said: I know the feeling. When we cleaned out my father’s house I was amazed at the things we found. It was hard to throw out any of it…
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- somamasays said: Existentialism at its best? I’ve carried around the post it note of both my doctors appt where I found out I was pregnant as well as the post it note for my induction. It’s a meaningful reminder, no matter the ‘value’.
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