My son has moved out. He’s twenty-nine, so it was time for him to go. Actually, though, he moved away years ago. To an out-of-state college for four years, then two years teaching school and getting a masters degree in yet another state. He came back home, but only for a couple months until he got married. Then he and his bride lived in a neighboring city while he continued his education. He has now earned that PhD and moved, along with his wife and five-month-old son, to a different state, where he’ll get to be the university professor.

While they were loading their belongings onto a very large Hertz rental, we realized there was enough space to hold all of Chris’ boxes we had stored at our house. So the boxes left, as well.

Books, artwork, projects from kindergarten on up. An Indian Guides vest, a Cub Scout uniform, and basketball jerseys from UNC. Pictures taken at basketball camp, showing Chris with Coach Dean Smith, and a piece of flooring from Carmichael gym (another UNC relic.) Flags, pennants and stuffed gators from college days. Nice metal cars, all styles, a collection started by my parents. And basketball cards. So many cards. Chris actually had a trading card business when he was in high school, selling at card shows, selling through his own website. And, of course, he bought as well, which is why he had thousands—literally, thousands–of cards and other sports collectibles.

Those are all gone now. Moved out.

There was such a massive amount of stuff, we realized, sadly, that Chris takes after my side of the family. We’re packrats. My parents grew up in poverty and accordingly, placed great value on every single item they were fortunate enough to possess. They taught me to follow these ideals, tenderly caring for my things because, hey, you never know when you might be able to use it and you want it to be in good condition when you do. I, in turn, must have passed these values on to my son.

I realized I may have taken things a bit too far, though, when Jen, Chris’ wife, called me from their new home as they were unpacking.

“I want to thank you,” she said, “for saving every report card and award Chris ever earned.”

Okay. I think she was being sarcastic. Not certain, but a fairly good guess.

Maybe Chris will be better able to let go than I was, realizing it’s time to move on. For his wife’s sake, I hope so.

He recently co-authored an article in our local newspaper, so I sent that section of the paper to Jen with a note attached:

You can file this with Chris’ third grade report card. If you should happen to misplace it, don’t worry. You’ll find several more copies when we die and you go through our things.                                                        

I guess I had better try to weed out some of my stuff before Chris has to. There’s so much that he can’t move it all to his house…unless he and his family move out.

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