In a binging fashion, I have been watching episodes of “Hoarders” on YouTube. I remember watching the show on TV years ago and being so amazed at how people could collect so much. I am still in awe, but I now understand that it is a disease that is usually triggered by a trauma. It is very sad to see how people use things to create literal walls to shield them from their realities, and in turn also push their families away, thus becoming even lonelier.
Many of the episodes I have seen feature single women, but some include families with children. To my surprise, the children yearn for a clean space. I would have thought that they would have gotten used to the cluttered space, but they despise it. They are usually the most active at the sites and are willing to part with almost everything. Their objections to the hoard are that they want to be able to spend time in the designated areas of the house, have a cooked meal, and be able to have friends over. Those are very basic requests that I have personally taken for granted all my life.
Today, becoming a parent sounds very daunting. I want to say that this is a result of marketing overload for too many products and ideas, high expectations for individual time, and lack of a supporting community. Book and baby gear stores are so overwhelming with their items and thoughts for every and any circumstance in life. Warnings about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in every article can make you live in constant fear. There is also the sea of opinions on how to raise a child. Tired parents caught in a bad moment can discourage anyone from even thinking about children. If that doesn’t do it, the anticipated cost of raising a child definitely will.
However, if we remove all the layers from the media, retailers, and unsolicited advice, we just have a child that needs love and shelter. Love will help them grow strong, be courageous, and be loving themselves. The shelter will keep them protected, provide a space for the love to happen and teach them how to handle the day-to-day. Yes, onesies and diapers and a few toys and if you can, a college fund, are still needed. If you are worried about the finances and education, think about how back in the day people would have five or more children and still feed them and empower them to make a good livelihood and have a family themselves. I can say that it is possible because both my parents belong to large families (seven kids each) and still made it through.
Their story inspired me when I was pregnant and still continues to encourage me. They were not born in fancy hospitals and did not have fancy toys. My dad was raised in the countryside and my mom in a middle-class family in the city. They grew up healthy and learned to be hard workers. If they thrived in the middle of their opportunities and challenges, without computer-based technology and in a developing country, my baby and her novice parents will be alright.
“Hoarders” teaches me that material things have the power to remove us from our reality and push us away from what is important. Behind the curtain of things lie hurt and desire for a better day. For these people, clearing out and healing are not easy, but the elements of what their families want from and for them are pretty simple. Be encouraged and know that what your family wants is only you.
You are not a finished product, and you are not perfect. It’s fine, because none of us are. We are all on a path. We decide if we want to move forward and grow, or reverse and get stuck in the mud of pain and mistakes. By taking a step forward, you allow yourself to be the person your community and family need. Be brave and know that love covers a multitude of sins. Your family might not remember that you burned dinner and will forgive you for not having the best attitude last weekend, but they will not forget how you picked yourself up and loved them.