Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ode to the GARAGE SALE...and a word on motherhood, too.

**WARNING**  No pictures...just lots of boring words

Cliff Notes = I {heart} garage sales and gosh darnit, motherhood is not about eating bon-bons!


I am a sucker for garage sales.  Meaning, I love to have them and no matter how many times I swear myself off of them, something keeps me coming back.  

I have participated in a few garage sales in the last year.  Each yeilding minimal profit to justify my efforts posting signs, driving to Salvation Army afterwards, and wasting 4 hours of a Saturday sitting around haggling with the world's CHEAPEST people.  Last time I got all ticked off because we had several nice pieces like a gently used desk from IKEA ($170 value).  I had it "listed" for 40 measly dollars.  I thought it would be the first item to go.  But NO...people had the audacity to ask if I would take 25, 20 or even 15 dollars?  Seriously?  I felt like saying, "turn around and let me have a look at how many pennies you are pinching between those cheeks!"

One time in college my roommate was getting rid of a pile of brand name clothing...Gap, JCrew, Banana Republic, etc.  I asked if I could sell them at a garage sale and she said, "Go for it!", clearly not wanting to put forth the effort herself.  So I did.  I made 200 dollars and guess who came crawling back wanting a share of the profit?  Yep...my roommate.  (oh and sorry sherri about the patio furniture.  I may have gotten carried away)

Well, on Saturday we had a garage sale.  I wasn't expecting much (even though all night I dreamt of earning well into the thousands)!  But this garage sale was a little bit different.  I was closing a chapter of my life, so to speak.  I was selling all my old teaching supplies.  Books, handmade bulletin board decorations, games bought with hard-earned money, file folder games made by an Eagle Scout, an old Piggy Opera play complete with costumes....in essence....MEMORIES.    It was hard to let go.  Each item sold had a story with it and unfortunately I bored all my buyers by telling that story.  I just wanted them to appreciate the items as much as I did.  

The good news is that we made 300 dollars.  The other good news is that we aren't paying 40 bucks a month to store it all.  The bad news is that a little piece of me is only history now.  

There are days when I really miss teaching.  Days when my sweet kiddos are being slightly less than sweet and the memory of parents praising MY efforts for teaching their kids seems more validating than being at home putting out tantrum "fires" and wiping up lunch messes.

Now don't get me wrong.  I  love and appreciate  the opportunity to stay at home with my kids.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.  But,  being a mom is so much tougher than I anticipated.  I used to think I had it all figured out. I was a teacher.  I worked with kids day in and day out.  I was a skilled disciplinarian.  I had schedules and routines down pat!  I knew what parents needed to do to produce GOOD results with their kids. 

Then I tried it myself.

Most days I worry if I am doing it right.  Most days I question if my efforts will ever pay off. Most days I pray that my own kids will turn out OKAY.  Many days I want to cry because I don't know the answer to successful parenting or because my ideas are backfiring.  

I just hope one day I will look back on it all and feel validated by the product of who my kids have become.  Now that would be one great reward!  Even better than the BEST garage sale!



20 comments:

Brooke said...

You're so cute Ali. I can't believe how much time has past and yet, it's been so much fun reading your blog and getting to know you all over again. The words about parenting ring true. I sometimes feel like it will be a miracle if my kids can somehow - in spite of my every effort - turn into an upstanding member of society. Keep the faith, Sister.

The Rugg Family said...

Hey cuz, that was great. I love yard sales, and remember this is what grandma and grandpa did to. Except we buy a spot at the swat meet and we have more luck there. Nobody said parenting was easy, I love staying home cleaning messes to, but it is a tantrum session now. I know how hard it is to rid of stuff, for me easy but for my husband he thinks he will always find use for things so he wont let go. Me I like the trash can it is easy for me to toss things.

Take care Cuz...

The Close's Place said...

As a fellow teacher and mom I totally hear ya. So easy to teach so hard to mom. Hopefully we'll figure it out.

kelly said...

same thing I've said a hundred times, you are doing great! they are LITTLE...it's what they DO. (as I sit here blogging and watching Ez take everything out of the tupperwear drawer, and the other easy-to-reach cupboards).

I'm glad your garage sale was successful! I know it's hard to let go of all those things that bring back the memories though. Think of the good use they'll continue to get now!

Olive-us said...

Thank you for this post. I needed to read this. Sometimes it is really easy to doubt yourself on whether or not you are doing the best you can with your children. In my 3 years as a mom, I have learned that LOVE paired with prayer and the occasional time-out does the trick.
Now, as far as garage sales go, I have a garage PACKED full of treasures that I would love your help with.
I'll e-mail you my addressee.

Oler Family said...

Your words about motherhood are so true...who knew it would be so much work? There are days that i laugh and days that i cry and sometimes i do both but at the end of the day i wouldn't trade my life for anything!!

Kasey said...

Thank you Ali.
I was at Lowe's the other night with the boys ( not a good place for 2 excited boys) between the running, falling, crying, pulling out every paint sample, hiding in places, riding the lawn mowers and pressing every singing Christmas animatronic on the shelf I was ready to pull there hair right of there little heads and then call them bad names..I took a deep breath and used my best calm angry voice to try to get them to understand me. I realized later that they don't act like total idiots in spit of me. They love me more then anything and they don't act like jerks to ruin my life.( even though it feels like it) Everyone has good and bad days...and so do our kids. Go eat a cookie that always seems to help!

Steve & Kim said...

I went garage selling on Saturday, I wish I had know that you were having one I would have stopped by and tried to be real cheep. He He. Actually I was really excited because I found a double stroller that I really liked. I cleaned it up and it looks bran new.

I am at that point where I want so much to stay at home with Sienna and my other future little ones, but I am having a hard time giving up what I have been doing for the last 10 years. I know I am a good teacher, I am still learning how to be a good mom. But I bet your children will be better off because you made the decision to stay home with them. Have fun!!

Anson and Michelle said...

My kids totally want to garage sale this next week. I think I'll just end up DI ing it!
I'm thinking I'd love to have you take our pictures soon...

heidi said...

somehow the good days out weigh the crazy days don't they? the crazy days just seem to last so long. your kids are great! let me know if you want me to send some service over, delaney loves to watch your kids.

merideth said...

wade and i are pretty sure we have messed up three out of the four kiddos...we think crew at three weeks old is still doing good. we still have hope for him;)

Mrs. Wells said...

And let me say, as an actual observer, she was an awesome teacher. I can only imagine she's just as great a mother.
And I cannot believe you were able to part with your things! Mine (only one year's worth) are in my grandparents' basement collecting dust. I'm proud of you! Is that a resignation from future teaching?

Kaylynn said...

Thanks Ali - I just went through a huge box that my mom left me that was full of all her teaching supplies from the 70's. At first I was like "why in the world did you keep this stuff (I mean it was all the old carbon copied paper)" but going through it I could totally see her personality through what she used to teach. It takes special people to be teachers - I know that's why my mom was such a good mom - and your kids will appreciate the mom you are with or without your teaching supplies!!!

Marie said...

Is it legal to sell something made by an Eagle Scout?

Marie said...

Sorry, I just had to leave the above comment while reading through.

Amen to it all Ali! I bet it was so hard to get rid of all those beloved teaching supplies. Did you keep any that didn't sell?

I was the best parent before I had kids and then I had kids. There are so many days when I wish I could rewind and do it over again because maybe I could do a better job, but then what if I did worse? I hope and pray my kiddos grow up happy and well-adjusted and still love me when they are grown.

Amy said...

Thanks for letting me tag along at your garage sale. I was happy with my $90 that I made.

Keep up the good work of being a great mom. I look up to you every day. Thanks for being a great motherly example.

Ben and Shara said...

I am a serious fan of the garage sales myself. I don't like going to them. I like having them. I do one about every two years and make rules for myself that I can't store items for a garage sale unless the DI would actually want the items. I have mastered the art of the garage sale and I do well. I sell things cheep and have to understand that things gotta move!! Last years garage sale we yielded just over $1000 buckaroos. We were selling some furniture items so that really helps bring the dollar up but we also convinced our six closest neighbors to also have a garage sale on the same day so we had some serious people flow. Wiley even got into it and sold otter pops and bottle water. He didn't do so bad either. I'm a self proclaimed expert at garage sale-ing. I should write a book. haha

annie said...

I know you must be a fabulous mom, my mom said you were an amazing teacher, AND you are writer, to boot!! I love to read your blog. You don't complain, but you don't sugar coat everything either. You are very talented! And you're right, parenting is much harder than I think anyone can anticipate. P.S. I love a good garage sale too. It is so hard to sell items for cheap when you haven't really let go of them yet! I feel your pain, but good job!!

summer said...

Being a mom is really hard. It is a 24 hour job. And next time you have a yard sale.. please let me know! I am a sucker for them too and it sounds like you had some good stuff!!!

Cory, Jenna and Calvin Broadbent said...

You do realize Sherri could deliver a death-blow karate chop to your face? Sleep with one eye open...and watch out for your patio furniture.