Lessons from ALF

[Originally started on 5/20/08]
Where I talk about “the purge” and “sharing things” – specifically stuffed animals, etc.

I have purchased a house. A townhouse, actually, but a residence nonetheless. MC & I have purchased this together, and started moving at the beginning of May. We have since cleared her from her place, had four rooms painted and (as I am writing this) had some Ikea bookcases delivered (that just need to be assembled and placed).

Our garage now has a lot of “stuff” in it, and is currently more storage than “a place to keep a car”. And there is still a bit more stuff to come. At least, initially. I have been in the “old” house for almost nine years. Add into my stuff everything that I acquired with Jenn, and that is a LOT of stuff to go through. And my sister-in-law is moving into the house behind me (moving into the “old” house), so I have gotten to the point of just “get stuff out” without really going through it all.

But here is where the post finds its name. I have a LOT of stuff, which I both do not and can not keep all of. And it is the “sharing” of stuff that is the hard part. As silly/weird as it may sound, there is an existing emotional tie to a lot of things in the house. It’s something as simple as “it was Jenn’s”, to the more elaborate issue of remembering the back story of the item, when it was given, why it was given and any similar significant story associated with it.

Which is where ALF comes in, all the way from Melmac. For those that do not recall, there was a 1980’s series (called ALF), about a fuzzy alien crashes on Earth, and secretly lives with a family in the suburbs. In spun off a comic series, Saturday morning cartoon, and various other merchandising – including a line of stuffed ALF dolls.

Jenn had wanted one when she was a kid. She never got one while the show was on, but her grandmother remembered. One day, she found a doll that someone had discarded, and saved it. She took ALF home, cleaned it up, and gave it to Jenn. And Jenn was happy. And Jenn loved ALF.

Some time later, we were hit with Hurricane Floyd. Check the history reports, and see how much of Eastern NC was flooded. We were not (directly) affected, other than loss of power. No flood damage. But there were several around us that did. And one of those families, somewhat connected to Jenn’s family (a student of her mom’s, I think), was one of those families. They had a child that had lost all of his stuffed animals, and other toys. One night, they were brought over for a chance to take a shower (there were several members from this students extended family now staying ina small house) and clean up, and my future mother-in-law was putting together some food and other items for them to take back with them.

And Jenn heard about the boy. And she offered to let him pick from her small collection of animals, to let him start over. And he chose ALF. And he clung to ALF. And Jenn, despite the history of the doll, and the slight pain that she felt giving it up, was fine with it, and happy to let ALF go.

And that is the lesson I am trying to put into play, now. Some of the “stuff” is easy to let go of – the dishes, the furniture, the things that haven’t been used in years. But letting go of some things, even with the emotional attachments and recall, and letting it bring joy to someone else… that is the valley I am going through now. I still have a lot to go through, but thanks to a lesson from ALF, the journey is a little bit easier.

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