There is so much of my Mother's story being told in this picture, where to begin...
Let's start with the T.V. You see it there in the middle, all duct taped up? This is a classic example of my Mom's thriftiness (and unwillingness to throw anything out). You probably can't see the holes in the front of it where the buttons have been broken off. We used to have to poke inside those with a pencil to be able to change the channels and change the volume. We had to do this because the remote was always lost (naturally). Fortunately my Mom came up with a solution; she affixed a string to the remote and then superglued it to the armchair! This worked until the batteries ran out and then no one ever got around to replacing them... and then we were back to the pencils.
Now let's take a look at all the videos over on the right side of the pic. See those? These are a testament to my Mom's total addiction to free or almost free deals. Who has videos still? My Mom, of course! Did you know that people are practically giving those things away at yard sales? And my Mom is out there snapping them all up, what a bargain!
Over on the right of the entertainment center are her most "precious" things. These are valued more than most things piled up around the house (if that's possible). How do I know this? They actually have a "place", a permanent spot, if you will. Everything else in the house is subject to churning (moving from one place to another). You would think that I would be happy about these things having a "spot" and all... but I'm not.
These "precious" things are mostly little trinkets brought by different family members from far away places and some treasured keepsakes from my Mom's past. None of them are worth much monetarily (the usual souveneir type junk), but to my Mom they might as well be Faberge eggs. I know that everyone has stuff like this and it's normal to hold things with sentimental value in higher esteem. But these types of things to a hoarder like my Mom can be taken to a whole new level.
Case in point... There are a couple of lovely little nesting dolls from Russia in the case. Naturally the grandkids gravitate towards these, what kid wouldn't? I remember playing with a set of nesting dolls at my Grandma's when I was little. It's a very pleasant memory. Here's what my Mom's grandchildren get to remember: My Mom throwing an absolute tantrum, because the kids got the dolls out (without permission of course - because my Mom would never let them touch them) and one of the smallest dolls (smaller than your thumbnail, I think) got stepped on. Mom went on and on and on about how special these dolls were and how they were absolutely irreplaceable and the kids are NEVER to get into that case... blah... blah... The overall result being that the grandkids now know (just like we did when we were kids) that "things" are more important to grandma then they (the kids) are.
I know my Mom didn't intend for that to be the result. But that's how it is.
That's how it's always been...
It's one of the things that bothers me the most about this "hoarding" disease. It's hard to know where I stand with my Mom. She is such a kind and caring person otherwise that it is difficult to imagine that she actually values the "stuff" filling up her house more than she does her own children. But I've seen her freak out one too many times to not believe it. I'm so confused. I don't know where I fit in to her value system and that hurts.