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Giving away a child's things can be hard for Mom, too

The Southdown PTA's yard sale at Southdown Primary

The Southdown PTA's yard sale at Southdown Primary School in Huntington -- and some of my son's baby toys Credit: Newsday / Valerie Kellogg

I waited a full year — since last April’s massive PTA yard sale — to clean out the attic. It was finally time to let go of the baby gear and reclaim a pretty large piece of real estate within the house.

As the baby changing table came down, and the walker, and the crib (which went to the curb, along with other recalled or potentially dangerous items), and the toddler bed, the boxes and boxes of Thomas the Train sets and Baby Einstein toys and tattered books, and — then! — the swing set and high chair and classical-music-playing mobile, my now-8-year-old son asked, “Mommy, why do you want to throw away all the memories?"

I tried to explain we’d make new ones, and that other families might get some use out of them. I agreed I’d save a few of his most beloved possessions, and we did.

The Saturday of the sale, he was too busy running around in the sunshine with friends to notice the artifacts of his young-life-so-far sprawled across the blacktop waiting for new service. But a sadness came over me as shoppers brought those things to me, one by one, to pay for. I waved to his changing table and all the memories it held for me as a first-time mother and asked the woman to treat it well. And I pointed out to the dad who bought “Everyone Poops” that we adored the book in our house. I almost didn’t let someone else buy “Peekaboo Kisses” until I noticed it wasn’t my son's copy. Whew.

The story usually goes that kids have a hard time letting go, but do you ever, dear parents? And just what are your tricks for giving away your children’s things? I need some advice — for next year’s PTA yard sale.

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