A quick story about my grandfather, Poppy. He had the best laugh. I mean, he could make a statue smile with his “ho ho ho,” (don’t think Santa, think sweeter, softer. Poppy was gentle.) Poppy bought this frog and stationed it on a wooden bench in his living room. And because the frog is armed with a motion sensor in his mouth, he would ribbit and croak when my family of five barreled into the room for Sunday dinner. And Poppy would laugh and smile. And when we’d shuffle out at the end of the evening filed with crackers and ginger ale with Grenadine, the frog would croak, which made Poppy chuckle again. His laughter was the sound that he left us with each Sunday. His own so happy goodbye noise.
You should know that I got tearful when I write about my grandfather. But let’s fast forward a little more than a decade. The frog came to me after Gran and Poppy were gone. He came with the portrait of Anna (it’s her secretary) and some other treasures. And he’s sat on my bookshelf and croaked at the kids, scared he cat, fallen to the floor, welcomed guests, and generally made us smile. But at the same time, it’s a plastic frog that doesn’t really have a home and doesn’t really serve any real purpose. Most of the time it is switched off and slides off the shelf when the kids pull coloring books or blocks down. He gets tripped over and unfairly kicked.
But the simple reason the frog has lived with me for so long is this sentimental bond that I have with it. Each time I look at it, I hear Poppy laugh all over again. I see his white hair and feel his paper soft hand in mine. I feel totally silly saying it, but in a way, this frog knew my grandfather. But more than that, my grandfather took total delight in him. How could I possibly get rid something like that?
In these 30 Days, this frog has gone in the big blue bin of things to be donated several times. I’ve pulled him out myself, and Jason has pulled him out and fought for his freedom too. We’ve tried to put him in different places–by the front door or on the porch–but nowhere has really worked. And so I’m left asking if the sentimental connection I have to this frog is worth the burden of more junk in my house. Let’s be honest. He’s just more stuff that I don’t need. And (this is the most important part) he isn’t my grandfather, and getting rid of him won’t steal my grandfather’s memories from me. Those memories are mine to keep close, no matter what stuff is on my shelves.
Getting organized means getting rid of a lot of clutter. And getting rid of clutter means cutting sentimental ties. While I might be sad to say good-bye to this frog, I can look forward to an organized house where only my memories are cluttered and overflowing.
I can’t be the only one, so what are you holding on to because of sentimentality?