Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sentimental: Good Or Bad?

I am a sentimental person...always have been, probably will always be. Not sentimental in the traditional sense though, more about putting value on things. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it is not.

In my travels and moves, I have learned to shed a fair amount of things but then I think of all the stuff I can't part with (most of which I hardly look at) and I wonder if I am really doing myself or anyone else any good with it all.

For some reason, this came up for me today very vividly.

My biological father is deceased. He has been for a while now and even when he was alive, we were not close. I actually dreaded the idea (and this probably makes me a horrible person) that when he got old, it was going to fall on me (as his only child) to take care of him. He never got old.

As a kid (and to this day), I love(d) my dad (the man I grew up with) and felt a lot of angst and confusion about how I should feel regarding my biofather. I knew I was supposed to love him and I guess I did in a way. When I got to know the "real" him later on in life, I was interested in the similarities we shared and the things that really made him tick (none of us got to see that much of the "real" him). As a kid, because I got very little from him, I treasured those things I did get...not out of love but out of something else I can't really describe. I guess because he made a choice in life regarding me and my mom (and thankfully he did because I would have missed out on a great dad, sister and childhood, had he not) and I felt like those little gifts were some kind of validation of that choice.

Prior to the few weeks I spent staying with him and my grandmother the summer after 6th grade, I had received a plastic doll piggy bank that had a musical base, and two glass piggy banks shaped like pigs filled with money from him. I still have all three of those items (minus the money of course). When I hear the music on the doll, it brings me back. I keep the doll in storage with a lot of other sentimental items but the piggy banks are on my dresser. One is big and one is little. The big one even has a broken part but I keep it anyhow because it is functional. I can't believe that neither of them has been broken in all these years. Now I keep my foreign coins in the big one and pennies (before they get rolled) in the small one. I move them everywhere we go. I would cry if one of them was to break by accident. I don't know why really but I know that I would.

When I stayed with him after 6th grade for a few weeks, I ended up with a few stuffed animals (some of which I still have) and trinkets of sorts, but nothing that has stayed with me emotionally like the others. I don't know if it helps me feel like there is a connection to a person who did little but donate genes to my being, or if it helps me to remember a time ( I hoard memories...which explains the pictures, journals, blogs, etc). I just know that I am terrible about keeping things (this is only a small example of what I keep and why) and sometimes I wish I was able to let things go a bit easier.


Mind Sprite said...

I didn't even know that you had a biofather.

I am very sentimental about a few things from my biofather, even though we don't speak now and I want nothing to do with him. I think it reminds me of a better time, when I felt connected with him and before all the drama.

I always find it fascinating the things we keep and those we discard. I think it's normal and I bet your piggy banks are cool. How about a picture?

Chicken said...

It is weird because I didn't remember that he gave you those piggy banks. When I see them in your house it reminds me of when I was little.

Haha said...

When you were born, he still was able to give love to others and I know he was very proud and an attentive father until you were about one and one-half years of age. He loved as much as he knew how, but he was a narcissist, whether it was his upbringing or something else I do not know. I do know you inherited all his goodness and smarts and he lost out on knowing how wonderful you are.
I think there is nothing wrong with keeping things...that are important...those things are to you so keep them. We really do not need two coffee pots, but we can always use two piggy banks!

Mishka said...

I just remembered too that I have a minature Lane cedar chest that I use as a one of my two jewelry boxes that he gave me probably was his from a purchase Grandma made at some point.

Haha said...

That is true, when you bought a lane cedar chest, they gave you a matching jewelry box. I remember that box - I am glad you still have it.