By: Sandy Churchill
For a Gemini, with a zany schedule where no two days are alike, I struggle with the smallest changes. Not the kind like where you park, or what to buy at the grocery store, or even where to sit at the dining room table, but the sentimental kind.
After 12+ years, our family room couch is entering the ‘beyond’ with springs that are shot, and you sink endlessly into its pillowy depths. You would think saying goodbye to this well-loved fixture would be easy. We bought new furniture we love, and after years of service and happy memories, we are donating the old couch.
But that’s just it: memories.
My oldest daughter transformed that couch into her nightly crash site on more movie nights than I can count. When my son was small, we snuggled up on the pullout sofa and watched the swirling snowflakes out the front window. That couch was the site of quiet conversations, homework pages, and computer time for each child. It often provided a space for my own writing, hand-sewing, or crocheting. So many Christmas mornings or Easter egg hunts (where trusty finds could reliably be found corralled behind the corner pillows) were all made more memorable by this couch.
I found myself conjuring images of, “The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein. This beautiful piece of furniture supported each of us during sick days or nap times, moments of confiding in each other or tea-time with friends.
I am generally not a materialistic person. Brands and trends don’t impress me and I am drawn to creativity and fun far more than simple utility or financial investment. And gratitude courses through my veins, so I am blessed with the years the couch shared with us, as well as the sturdy and cozy new furniture we recently bought.
This faithful friend did its job well. It’s going hopefully to a new home of someone who will be happy to have a couch, despite its weaker springs, and slightly worn upholstery.
So why am I bawling when my husband and son-in-law shoulder my old pal out the front door to be donated? Am I totally losing it?
A sideward glance reveals my 13 year-old struggling with sentimentality as well. Like his older sister years ago with the couch’s predecessor, he wants to snip a stamp-sized piece of fabric from the underside of this family treasure. I pause and show him the snippets of couch fabric still taped to the fridge by his sister when that couch was given away.
Is this teaching respect or silly sentimentality? Logic was never my first go-to in terms of processing events and now didn’t seem to be the time to start. Still, was there a life lesson here?
I call my daughter to confess my sadness and ask if I am crazy. She reassures me that I should take a picture of the couch and reminds me we can still have sleepovers in the family room—even if we use sleeping bags on a snowy night. She reminds me we have all those good memories, and inside, I am grateful for feeling understood. I am reassured that cherishing memories—and even shedding a few tears over the loss of our long-time furniture—simply shows appreciation and gratitude.
I pore over pictures for this blog and shed a few more tears over time speeding by too fast. But in re-experiencing these moments in time, I am comforted by the joy in those moments. Nothing was ever wasted. Each child, parent, grandparent, friend, and guest, has experienced life in these rooms, and many holidays and birthdays were witnessed and shared by our beloved couch.
We have all grown, blossomed, and changed over the years, and will forever cherish so many memories of family and friends, sharing life’s journey together.
My 13 year-old makes a quiet pact to take a snippet of fabric in the morning. He smiles at me by way of understanding. We need not clear it with the “logical” folks in the house. This is our way of honoring our long-time pal.