Charles Llewellyn III, DDSDental Care in Virginia Beach

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The Circle of Life

I just spent three days in Urbana, Illinois that was anything but a long weekend hiatus. I grew up in Urbana, and my mother still lives there. We’ve tried to get her to move closer to one of her kids, but that’s another story. She’s a tad stubborn. The objective of the visit was to move my mom and her husband (they were married we were all well into adulthood, so step father just doesn’t sound right) from the home she’s lived in for 35 years, to an apartment in a very nice assisted living facility. She’s no longer able to cook and clean like she once was, among other things, so my sister told my brother and I we needed to come and help make the move. Throughout my life I’ve found that following my sister’s directives is a wise habit to develop. Her assignment for me was to clean out the attic. Sister knows best.
I don’t think anyone had been up there is some time, so when I climbed the rickety ladder into the abyss, the word overwhelmed comes to mind. Boxes. Dozens and dozens of boxes. It seems my mother never wanted to be in need of a box to mail things to her children and be left wanting. I guess she never had the occasion to mail anything large enough to require her to use the boxes my stereo speakers came in, circa 1974, so there it was. I won’t go over the list, but I never dreamed I could take a walk down memory lane by sorting through cardboard containers. My father on the other hand, kept every piece of left over lumber, trim, tile etc…from his years of building our homes. The 50lb bag of concrete was over the top, but by the time I uncovered that gem I was beyond surprise. The back window from the topper of his 1970 Big Ten pickup truck that my brother wrecked in high school? OK, that was a bit of a surprise. I completed the task in a couple days time, sneezed out all the dust, and was moved into the house to help with the packing and moving of the items my mother would take with her. Keep in mind, she would be moving from a two story 4 bedroom house into a 2 bedroom apartment. So there would be much to sell or be claimed by her children.
This may sound strange, but I found myself pleased that none of us really wanted much from the house. We are not possession minded people. So we all took a few small things that held some special meaning, always asking the others if they were OK with it, and experienced no animosity or jealousy for what the other siblings took home. OK, my brother took a small TV and didn’t tell us, but we didn’t want it anyway. It was heart warming to be involved in such a difficult transition with everyone focused on my mom’s comfort and well being instead of on material things that in the end really mean very little. There have been some heirlooms that were passed on a few years ago, of which I got none, but I honestly do not care. My relationships with my brother and sister are far too important to even question why. After all, I got all the brains so one doesn’t want to be greedy (soooo not true).
The bottom line is family and relationships. We left so much “stuff” behind in mom’s house that will either be sold or given away. Things that may be fun to own for a while, but will perish over time. Things we think we must have to be content, but very quickly leave us needed that one more thing. Now don’t misunderstand. I don’t feel there is anything wrong with obtaining things in life that we may want and not need. It can make life more fun, comfortable, or even happy for a while. What I would like people to realize is that when their importance is greater than relationships, it makes for a very empty life. All that stuff. I will forever cherish the time in Illinois last week because I really think my family got it right, and trust me, we don’t get everything right. The things were just something we had to deal with, the focus was on each other, and in particular, the most righteous, loving, generous, and caring mother a boy could have. I just hope she doesn’t cause too much trouble at her new digs. Like I said…she can be a tad stubborn, God love her.