Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Bestowing of Stuff

My parents came over this afternoon to take the Mister and i out for lunch.

It becomes more and more difficult to go anywhere with them. There is always much confusion and fuss getting out the door, getting into the car, getting the seatbelts on, getting out of the car, walking to the restaurant, getting in the door, and etc. The Mister and I are trying to be helpful, which just confuses the situation further. I am exhausted.

My parents (and i have to stop for a minute here and say how much i appreciate that they are doing this instead of waiting until it is done to them) have selected a retirement home and are in the process of preparing for the move. The retirement home should be ready in about a year (it's being built). My mother has been talking about and preparing for this for about a year already. Everytime i am at their house she asks me if i want this set of dishes or that soup tureen or the chinese vase they got many years ago in the Phillipines.

I am not a person who values stuff very much, even if those are the dishes i grew up with.

So my parents arrive today with four large boxes filled with dishes from one of her many sets. "You said you wouldn't mind having these," she told me.

"I did?" i replied, "why, thank you." I'll have to be more careful in the future. She went on to further explain to me how only a few of the dishes have very many chips and that they have lasted a long time and when i have large dinner parties (me? HA!) they will come in handy.

Looks like Em has a set of dishes for her first house. I'll put the boxes in the basement next to the soup tureen.

Good thing we have a big basement.


Liv said...

It is sweet that they are looking to the future rather than making you be the person who "put them in a home."

As for dishes, and this could be a southern thang, everyone in my family just lives to have the 'family' dishes. or the 'family' silver. or the 'family' crystal. I hope this is something that Em will look at with a smile when she gets to doing the washing.

Anonymous said...

it{s got to be such a weird dilemma...letting go of a lifetime of memories wrapped up in things...and part of the goodbyes i suppose, is making sure a piece of you carries on after you are gone.

it's bittersweet, isn't it, in about a thousand ways.

jaded said...

I empathize. About the distribution of things, and all those large dinner parties (LOL). Last year, my mother issued me a silver ice pitcher, which I use in all its splendor, to water house plants. I never have the heart to say, "Your treasure is becomes my shit". Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Especially as the daughter, you'll be the recipient of most of the house stuff. My mother even wants to give me her house (because I am such a pathetic decorator, in her eyes).

Eventually, when you have us all over, those dishes will come in handy.

Mother of Invention said...

Yes, that is soon to be a problem with us too. By now, we all have what we want or need. There is no room for more stuff. Mind you, I will say yes to certain things I have attachment my bedroom set..but you can only house so many dishes.

Your parents are quite organized and prepared....mine are hangin' on with every last bit of strenth to their own house. I'd probably be the same way.

flutter said...

looks like she is going to have really cool dishes!
How forward thinking and awesome of them to make the decision about the retirement home so you don't have to

karmic said...

I have to say I am impressed at how organized your folks are at this.

Joan said...

I know exactly what you're going through. When my mom moved into my sister's house, I agreed to take her beloved china to make it easier for her to give up her apartment. With so little storage space, I really want to get rid of the china but I don't have the heart quite yet even though I'm sure my mom has no memory of her dishes or where they went. How sad...

Lynn said...

When my mother "gave up" her apartment to move in with me, I didn't want her "good crystal" but I took it anyway because I didn't want to hurt mom's feelings. This set of "good crystal" was obviously important to my mother and she assumed, erroneously, that it would be important to me. Other than taking up valuable room in my garage, I don't think about the crystal at all…and sadly neither does my mom...anymore.

Special K ~Toni said...

HA! That's how I had dishes in my first home! When you are $ tight, those dishes and pots and pans you get from Mom are a blessing!

Dick said...

I am having to try to pare down my "stuff" to merge households with Pat when we get married and it is kind of hard. Not too hard with the dishes & many things but there are some special cups, photo albums, etc. that hold a lot of memories that I am finding I may not be quite ready to get rid of. A good friend has suggested that I rent a storage locker to put some things into. If I go a year without wanting or using things in it I can probably go ahead and dispose of them. That sounds like a good idea and for only the cost of renting storage for however long it takes. That will make it easier for me now.

Bob said...

I would say that the primary thing I learned from my dad is independence. I would bet you anything that my parents will do just as yours are.

Lynnea said...

Very impressive that they took a proactive approach to the whole retirement home issue. After reading Patches' blog, I can see that this saved you a great deal of headache. But you had me laughing so hard about the boxes in the basement next to the soup tureen - my crazy mind pictured a really big tureen taking up the basement.

QT said...

My mom has a really cool set of dishes that were a wedding gift. I covet them because of their simple 70's vibe.

Em will be appreciative of anything to start out with, I am sure. That is waht all those things are for, right?

Kellyology said...

You're lucky that your parents are doing this on their own. I've experienced it both ways in my family and believe you me, those who volunteer...well let's just say that they are on my favorites list.;)

meno said...

liv, say what you will about my parents (and i do) i so so so appreciate them for doing this on their own. I have already turned down "the family silver" Ungrateful wretch.

jen, i have to keep in mind how scary and difficult this must be for them. That's why i just take the stuff and say "Thank you."

patches, That's funny because we have a big silver pitcher too that my mother gave to the Mister one time when i wasn't quick enough to intervene. I never thought of using it to water the plant (yes THE plant). Right now it's sitting in all it's dusty, needing-to-be-polished splendor above the fireplace.

de, i would accept their house, but only with the intention of selling it for the money. Not too sentimental am i. Good idea for the use of thre dishes. :)

moi, my mom missed her calling, instead of a housewife, she should have been an office manager. She would have whipped that place into such good shape.

flutter, in this aspect, my parents really rock. Having watched the Mister go through prying his dad out of his house and put him into a place where he could be cared for, i don't want to do it myself.

sanjay, i too am impressed and grateful as hell.

joan, it's hard to just pitch that stuff, but to us, it really is just stuff. Sad, you are right.

lynn, maybe you should get it out for your next big dinner party. :) I think our moms are of the era where you got this stuff for your wedding and cherished it all your life. Us, not so much.

meno said...

toni, my first dishes came from gas stations and the Salvation Army. Em will be much classier.

dick, i don't think you will ever be able to throw out those picture. There must be some amount of space in your new home for these kinds of things. Renting a storage space is a great idea for the rest of the stuff.

bob, and if they do you will be a lucky and grateful man.

maggie, it is so cool that they are doing this on their own. The soup tureen is pretty big. My mom told me that i could use it to serve soup when i have dinner parties as it's so much more elegant. :) Maybe i'll keep goldfish in it.

qt, maybe your mom will bequeath they to you someday. Em will be starting out with some pretty fine china!

kelly, they are on my favorites list because of this too. One thing my mom is is realistic. And in this case it is a blessing.

Anonymous said...

Everything significant in my house, with three exceptions, is a hand me down or a gift. Seriously. I was telling my husband just the other day how weird we are in that we never had to spend money to furnish our house. We bought our pool table (five years ago), our kitchen table set (two years ago), and our huge corner TV armoire (last year). And that's IT. Crazy, if you ask me. Of course, as a result, everything my mother owns is brand new and hugely expensive.

And has my name written on it somewhere.

Discreetly, of course.


Imez said...

For gods sake when do you write your blog? Why Can't I ever get inside the first 15 commentors? There is nothing left to say!!! Nothing!! Nothing!!!


No one has ever used a soup tureen.

jaded said...

But meno if you polish the pitcher and water the plant the plant will die. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.....

thailandchani said...

My mother, pre-estrangement, threatened to dump all of her furniture on me when she passes. Thankfully, she probably no longer considers such a thing. (Can you imagine trying to move an entire houseful of furniture to Khon Kaen? No *thanks*!)

I have very mixed feelings about having anything of hers. It may not be such a warm and fuzzy thing.

And I don't care about stuff, either.

Maybe Em will truly enjoy having the dishes.



Anonymous said...

My husband's grandmother did the same thing, giving bits of her stuff away until there was little left to sort through when she moved into the retirement home. I'm glad your parents are able to to this for themselves, and that you have the space to take in what they want to give you, even if you don't want those things for yourself. I bet Em will be happy to have those things when she's out on her own - I would have been..

Tink said...

Definitely put them aside for when the kiddo moves out. Hand-me-downs saved my life. I didn't have a cup to my name before I moved away, just a handful of plastic silverware I bought from the dollar store. They lasted all of a month.

meno said...

jennifer, The Mister's mother had all early American stuff, with blue birds and flowers stenciled all over it. Nice, if you like that style. And my parents never get rid of stuff (except in this case) until it is pretty well shot. You are lucky.

esereth, i write at various times. But you know that i value your comments just as much as any other, so don't let the numbers dissuade you. And i sure as hell have never used a soup tureen that's for sure.

patches, you are brilliant!

chani, and it feels rude to say that you really don't want their lovely furnishings.

mrs.chili, If it makes them happy to fill my basement, then bring it on. But my soul just doesn't like clutter.

tink, yeah, all my first stuff was, ah, borrowed from crappy restaurants and older friends. And if they didn't want it it really was garbage.

Joan of Arf said...

Oy. I feel your "extra stuff" pain. Both my parents are only children... so you can imagine how many soup tureens I have collected and/or turned away. I'm constantly trying to purge my OWN crap... sure don't need other people's crap. For me it's way easier to toss/give away my own stuff, than the stuff that was given to me and meant something near and dear to someone else (even though I really hate it and think it's reeeeeally butt ugly). I will be completely screwed when my parents downsize.

Bobealia... said...

I have a silver set if Em wants.

Schmoopie said...

My mother died when I was young and I only have a few small things that were hers. My brother and his wife got my mother's wedding china and placed a few of the plates on hangers on the wall. Every time I see those plates, I feel like stealing them and taking them with me. It's really strange since Stucco and I don't really fuss over fancy dishes and I wouldn't display them like that. Who knew dishes could elicit such an emotional response?

Lynn said...

Um Meno, do you think "good crystal" goes well with paper table cloths and plastic dishes? lol

Mona Buonanotte said...

I'm kicking myself now for not taking those dishes of Grandma's when she offered them to me years ago...I figured there was always time...and there wasn't....

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you don't crave things. I know too many people who are owned by their things. Belonging goes both ways.



A lass

P.S. - And perhaps an ass.

meno said...

joan of arf, I know, i will feel really guilty having that garage sale and unloading those dishes.

bo. nice try, but it's too late, my mom has already bestowed some old silver on me. It needs polishing.

schmoopie, oh damn, now i feel badly for not appreciating that i have a mom. I am sorry you lost your mom young. Could you ask for a dish?

lynn, you bet it does, especially when Top Ramen is served! :)

mona, Next time someone offers you something you want say "hell yes" and grab it right then. It sounds like you liked your grandmother.

holly, we have enough crap as it is. (But a big ass?) Alack!

urban-urchin said...

I wish my parents would do this. My mother is insanely organized, but she has more stuff than anyone I know and I know it won't be my brother who will take care of anything.