I’m all nostalgic and sentimental because I’m in the process of selling my babies’ cots; they are babies no more. Isn’t it funny how some objects seem to absorb and contain memories, and that we all react differently to the idea of objects and their stories?
I’ve joked before that I’m a borderline hoarder. (The joke is that people around me think I’m well past the border!). I do struggle to let go of objects that seem special, and it perplexes my husband that it’s often someone elses history embedded in an object I choose to hoard.
Others that I know are not at all sentimental about objects, exactly, but they have gathered papers, notes and clippings throughout their lives, amounting to boxes and suitcases full. I’m not alone in wanting to hold onto baby items; I know mothers who still have every piece of clothing and baby toy, without any expectation of procreating again. They simply can’t let go.
These images are a reminder of a time when I hadn’t met my children; I was in the throes of nesting and nervous anticipation. I was attempting to create a calm haven for us all.
In addition to the beloved cots you can see numerous vintage toys and decorations; bunting made by a lovely, clever friend; a fluttering mobile made from old doileys; Chinese papercut birds.
I made provision for note-taking, plus lovely music, lots of story-books: plenty of gentle stimulation for babies.
Of course now when I look at that couch I recall anxious time-keeping, attempts to nourish two babies at once (hilarious!), an enormous breast-feeding cushion and the seemingly relentless hum of an electric pump.
Thus, objects can hold memories with mixed feelings. The early days of motherhood for me were often stressful and tense as I practically juggled two infants. (Perhaps “juggled” is not the right word, but it felt like that!) I also remember staring for hours at their pink faces, fascinated with their early movements and expressions.
Of the objects in these photos, many have moved on and the only one I now cling to is the “Open” sign, below. It had been the sign my Dad used on the door of his business and he gave it to me simply because it featured two kittens. It was with great surprise that we met our fellows and realised they colour-matched the cats on the sign.
Objects don’t really hold memories (and I’ve mentioned this before) but I certainly think those that do evoke history have more value, don’t you? So I seek out antique or hand-made, when I need to buy something… and I mourn just a little as I pass on the cots that remind me of when my boys were babies.
I may be sentimental and have a penchant for “vintage”, but I’m very grateful to live in the age of photography so I can revive my memories with a glance.