Today I walked into an estate sale at home in my neigborhood. Normally, the word 'Estate' is bandied about pretty indiscriminately at these sales. But this was truly an estate, a beautiful, but incredibly run down residence on a hilltop, with 5 bedrooms, a pool, and a sweeping view that spanned from downtown LA to the Pacific Ocean. This house held room upon room of every imaginable type of furniture, clothing, dinnerware, cookbooks, house-wares, cookware, rugs, craft supplies, toys, art, fine linens, etc., etc, etc...I had never seen anything like it before, except I had. I had lived through and sorted through all of this before. It was a carbon copy of my mother's treasured items, but on steroids. This was not old to-go cups, or decades of old newspapers that you would except to see in a hoarder's house, these were all pristine, beautiful, items, but there was just SO much of it. More than anyone person could ever use: 23 sets of Laguiolle steak knives....3 exquisite dollhouses, you get the idea from the pictures. As I walked through each room, I felt a hitch in my chest, each room looked so much like a room I had seen before in my mother's house. And then it hit me, the cacophony of judgmental voices swirling around me; "who was this woman?" "how could one person have this much stuff" There were people grabbing at the goods like starving carrion. And my heart began to break. I felt a fierce protectiveness of this woman. No one could understand her like I did in that moment. I wanted to yell out " Don't judge her, you don't know why she had all of this, what need she had to fill, what emptiness there may have been in her, or maybe she grew up without, and felt the need to acquire things to feel like she finally had something, and would never again do without." I will never know this woman's reasons, nor will I ever know my mother's. I could never have bared having her belongings pawed over, her life's accumulation snickered at. And so I chose to handle it myself, with only a select few loving friends, that I knew would never judge her.
I am now the caretaker of the accumulation, the scribe, the historian. As I wandered around this treasure trove, I managed to walk away with only one pair of silk embroidered slippers (because I needed a new pair of slippers) and a small bell to use for meditation. And then left very proud of myself for my restraint, thinking my mom would have never been able to do that. But Alas, I woke up bright and early the next morning, and rushed back to buy a never been worn, pair of hot pink Swarovksi encrusted peau de soie silk Manolo Blahnik sandals, and an antique, hand embroidered South American skirt and top. Just like my mother would have done.
The apple never falls too near or far from the tree. Sometimes, it falls exactly where it needs too. Here's to finding balance.