Children are beneficiaries of ‘treasures’

second-hand sign

As our children grow up and out of the house, I find myself taking the opportunity to follow the long-held tradition of my people: I unload my excess “stuff” on them. End tables, extra beds, sheet sets and cake pans, all go off in boxes to their apartments. 

What young man living alone with a kitchen the size of a postage stamp doesn’t need a set of nested roasting pans? Decorative items like a canvas of a sunset taken from the bow of our boat — sent off to BoyWonder’s apartment. He lives in a basement; he can use the view.

GirlWonder is cagier; it might be a girl thing. She still has her off-season clothing in the dressing room here. It’s nice. She swings by in one outfit and leaves in another. It’s like having a life-size Barbie drop-in. 

Not to be thwarted, I still manage to sneak things off to her apartment. Decorative pieces, massive vases, 1,100 picture frames — there all for you baby.

Lessons learned

Seeing them feather their own nests has been so much fun. GirlWonder has an amazing eye for decor and detail. She has taken the hand-me-down and thrifted furnishings and turned them into a showplace. 

The maintenance crew at her apartment building exclaimed over how nice the place looks. It’s really cute. 

I particularly enjoy how she tells me now that she gets why I was so insistent on chores and cleaning when they were young. It is a special moment in a mother’s life when her child calls her to complain that her partner does not always respect the clean countertop rule.

She now understands why mama couldn’t “just relax” in chaos. Sure I want to hang out, but let me just clean up the dinner dishes first.

Simpler life

BoyWonder, meanwhile, was living with an air mattress on the floor until GirlWonder and I worked some magic with thrift-store decor and throw pillows. 

I am convinced that throw pillows can fix almost anything decor-wise. Do you have a 40-year-old couch with sagging cushions and a vibrant orange bird pattern upholstery? Consider adding some throw pillows!

To his credit, he does like things homey. Shortly after moving, he phoned home to ask about a crucial piece of his decor he could not locate in his boxes — a framed photo of Nova, our dog.

It’s hard to know what to suggest a young resident needs. These days it seems to be not much more than a high-speed internet connection and a smartphone. Gone are the days of having the cable and telephone connected. Nowadays that isn’t necessary. 

I’m not even sure BoyWonder missed his lack of appliances for the first few days. Obviously, he would have if he had these roasting pans I’ve set aside for him. Instead, he uses an air fryer and Door Dash and eats like a king.

Accumulated treasures

It’s taken decades of adulthood for me to amass the number of household goods we now possess. It seems like one moment I didn’t realize a garlic press was something that existed. Now I own three. I need to pass these down.

Our kitchen cabinets are ceiling height all the way up to our 10-foot ceilings. I store seasonal items, giant stockpots and cake decorating items. Eventually, I hope to pass these on too.

The one thing I will probably keep is the most mysterious item of all. It’s a giant glass punch bowl with 24 cups that hang around the edge. I don’t think I have used a single one of those cups, ever. We do use the punch bowl from time to time. Mostly for giant salads and Jell-O.  

It seems like every household that had a wedding sometime in the 1950s-1970s owns one of these beauties. If not, get out to a thrift store. They are everywhere. I do not know why but it feels like everyone is required by law to have a giant punch bowl at the ready. I can’t part with this one. My kids will have to get their own.

If we don’t need it to serve a beverage, I guess we can always swim in it.

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