Cleaning House and Tribute to Mom and Dad

My son and parents in 2004 near Atlanta, Georgia

For the past month, I have been doing a lot of cleaning – particularly in the basement and garage of my home. I was bitten by the “cleaning bug,” and decided it was about time to take action and do something. I cleaned sooo much “stuff” out of my house! No one should really be allowed to accumulate that much stuff! Adding my own and my son’s “stuff” to my parents “stuff” literally caused there to be several tons of stuff that I cleaned out, moved out, recycled, donated, and/or junked. The dumpster company, the movers, Uhaul, and the shredding company all made some money off of me this month. I actually tried to hire an estate company to sell out portions of my house, but it didn’t work out. So, I had to pay to get the stuff moved out rather than make some money off of it. That’s just the way it is for me. It seems like I always have to pay; I’m just not a “lucky” person.

I have lived in this home for the past 15 years since my marriage ended, and I moved my things into this house at that time, with many of those things going into storage in boxes and plastic storage bins in the basement. In the past month, I have gone through everything in this house; many things I have not seen for 15 years since putting them away. Opening up those boxes and bins was like opening up time capsules. I went right back to when my son was a little boy – only 4 years old when we moved to this house. It was wonderful to go through his “little boy” things – clothes, toys, pictures, cards, drawings, and crafts. And then, for some other things that I unearthed by going back in time, it was not nearly wonderful at all. I went through all kinds of documents that I really did not want to ever see again – and I had the shredding company handle those. So, I experienced some smiles and laughter as well as some tears by going through all of that “stuff.”

On looking through photo albums of when my son was a baby and young boy, I found one picture that I took of my son with my parents. My son was one year old at the time, and both of my parents have since passed. The photo is of my son riding one of those mechanical cars at a local mall, flanked by my parents. It is a great picture because my son loved riding those mechanical machines and my parents loved being right there with him.

With my son currently being a college student, I am pretty much an empty-nester, except when he comes home from college. It, therefore, gets pretty quiet around here, and while I know I always have myself and try to keep a positive attitude, sometimes it’s tough to take, especially around the holidays. People who are alone really need more healthy communication and interaction with others.

So, seeing that picture of my one year old son with my parents brought back so many fond memories for me, and caused me to remember and be grateful for all that my parents have done for me and my son. I would not be where I am today if it was not for my parents, and I always remember that and am thankful for all they have done. The holidays are supposed to be one of the happiest times of the year, but I can’t help but feel some sadness and nostalgia about missing my parents who did so much for me.

…And, I’ve also learned something in this whole process of cleaning out my house, as well – do not buy, keep, and/or accumulate so much “stuff” ever again!

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Camping in the Great Smokies (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

A Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

A Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Summer is a great time of the year for camping, and this summer is no different.  Last week, my son went camping with a group in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  He hiked, cooked, and photographed the outdoors.  There were many beautiful trees, creeks, rocks, plants, and other wildlife to photograph.

Creek Scene in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Creek Scene in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

At one point during my son’s camping trip, a mother black bear and three of her cubs walked along the outskirts of the camp.  It was quite an experience for the campers and the bears.  One of the cubs got scared and climbed up a tree.  Thankfully, the bears remained at a safe distance from everyone, and vice versa.

Rocks and Boulders in a Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Rocks and Boulders in a Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

My son had a great opportunity for camping in the Great Smokies, and he returned home feeling even more inspired than he already was to conserve nature and protect wildlife.  I’m glad that he had a good experience and was with other campers who were responsible and who looked out for each other.

Thankfully, my son was no longer in the area when lightning storms and tornadoes swept through on the next day, however most of his group remained.  Luckily, everyone was okay.

Note: The photos in this post were taken by my son.