An only child can be described as a ‘precious snowflake’ – not entirely a compliment. I am the former but hopefully do not have the temperament of the latter.
Being an only child is a mixed bag but for me the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages and now a new unexpected perk has come to the fore - that of hand-me-downs; my mum has kept a considerable amount of my old toys and clothes and my 2 daughters are now reaping the rewards.
The delight of opening an old box is three fold. My daughter is excited to be adding to her bulging wardrobe, I am instantly thrown back 35 years and I can’t even begin to imagine how my mum feels watching her granddaughter try on my old party dresses. It is a moment that creates a strong bond between maternal generations and I’m grateful that she took the time to conserve these items and subsequently the memories.
I try to re-use as much as possible, sometimes to not great effect. My baby girl is often wearing my son’s clothes – inevitably I get asked, “aw how old is HE?” and my elder daughter looks on horrified as for her if it isn’t pink/unicorned/sparkly or rainbowed don’t even bother.
But how nice it feels to reuse, save the money and relive those baby memories. I won’t be able to save many clothes for my grandchildren as they have been well loved, vomited etc on three times over, but I will do my best to save one or two special pieces.
The idea of being a guardian of items to pass down is being lost, partly because it is more difficult to buy quality anymore. Our culture is to buy cheap, throw away and move on – so much easier than investing the time and money and I am as guilty as the next person.
At work we strive to reuse everything we can. The reason you will often receive your order in weird and wonderful packaging is due to us reusing all the packaging we get. We actually get excited when a ‘good’ box comes in the post that can be chopped up and used for orders….
There is so much to be said for buying less and reusing, thus living a simpler life - enjoying today and worrying less about what has happened or what might happen.
Whether at home or work I know we still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. When I realise that we have used a plastic bag unnecessarily or thrown something away that could have been reused I try to tell myself that no journey is a straight line and that living and learning are two sides of the same coin.