No Room at The Inn

by Mothership on December 22, 2009

Every year around this time I become gripped in a frenzy of manic tidying and sorting as if I must make sure that the house is clear of detritus, excess and little wheels off things in preparation for a host of new detritus, excess and little wheels off things that will inevitably make their way in via the Christmas tree and *ahem* adjunct impulse purchases that seem imperative at the time.

I try not to throw too much into the bin, but rather bag up what we no longer use and take it to the charity shop or give it directly to someone who may need it. It has become increasingly difficult to do the latter, though, as Husband clings to his disgraceful, tattered old underwear as if they were the Shroud of Turin (and believe me, the latter looks in considerably better nick) and the children wail when I try to get rid of baby items or toys that they haven’t played with in literally years and never will again so I have to stay up late at night and sneak my bags into my car and do it under a clandestine cloak of darkness.

It’s not an easy task, you know.

But I just can’t stand having all that stuff spilling out all over the place and it’s also quite hard having all the baby gear LOOKING at me expectantly in a broody sort of way. I’m already dealing with Two being a little boy rather than a squidgy baba and I’m in the process of letting go of not having any more tiny ones, so it really is time to make a clean sweep of the stuff.
What am I keeping it for? It’s just taking up space and making me feel nostalgic to boot.

Last week I quietly put three bags (baaa) of baby clothes, a moses basket, a baby bjorn, a nursing pillow and various other items in the boot of my car without mentioning it to the rest of the family and then after dance class I went to a local charity shop to drop off the goods. It was closed, being 9pm, but I drove around to the drop off area at the rear of the store.

I was just about to get out of the car when I saw a head pop up out of a dumpster by the back door.
I froze, suddenly afraid. Was he an ax-murderer?
The head went down again and re-emerged. A small man jumped out clutching a pillow.

I realised the dumpsters were where you dropped off items, not rubbish and he was foraging in them.

“Have you lost something?”

He walked towards me, smiling and open faced; a slight, young, brown skinned man.

“No hablo ingles”

“Do you need something? “

He looked hopefully at the car.

This boy was not a threat to me. He needed help.

I turned off the engine and got out.

“I only have things for a baby. Do you have a baby?”

“Si! Baby! Baby!”

I opened the boot and his face lit up.  We couldn’t speak one another’s language but he managed to express to me that his baby was newborn and he was collecting things to make the mother more comfortable and trying to find some things for the child who had nothing. He was ecstatic to have the moses basket and the nursing pillow (he very sweetly tried it on himself) and I showed him how to wear the Baby Bjorn and told him to be careful to button the sides for a newborn baby so he didn’t slip out.

So close to Christmas.     In the world’s richest country.

How could he have nothing and be foraging in a dumpster?

He took everything.

Including any last shreds of nostalgia or sadness over my baby things.

Feliz Navidad, Madre, Padre e Bebe. Muchas gracias por el regalo

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2009 Highlights | Motherhood: The Final Frontier
January 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm


1 victoriark December 22, 2009 at 10:23 am

I have been sitting for the last few hours in a warm home which is full of food and presents yet somehow dreading the next few days. This piece has just given me a well deserved slap.

V. xxx

2 shayma December 22, 2009 at 11:22 am

MTFF, such a beautiful, loving gesture. It’s almost as though he was “placed” there. serendipitously. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s. see you in 2010. x

3 Potty Mummy December 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Wonderful post – and very well timed, given the festival of consumption that’s just about to start…

4 London City Mum December 22, 2009 at 12:42 pm

What a lovely post – there is truly nothing as rewarding as knowing that what has served you so well will also help someone else and likewise give them happiness.
Xmas is a time for giving to those who are most needy and this has brought home the much ignored meaning of the festivity.

Thank you and have a wonderful celebration!


5 Mothership December 22, 2009 at 12:55 pm

I really felt like he was giving me a gift. It was very, very humbling. I came home and looked around at all that we had and felt so incredibly lucky. I also felt blessed to be in the presence of so much love – he was out on a cold, dark night foraging through dumpsters to try to get what his young family needed. Not a pleasant easy job but there was not the tiniest bit of anger or resentment about him – just pure joy and a sweetness because he was so happy to have a son and to be able to provide for them. Honestly, I wept on the way home, I felt so honoured to be able to have helped. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.

6 geekymummy December 22, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Now you have me sniveling in the office, you should put up a “too emotional for work” warning on the post!
How lovely that you were able to give your treasured items to someone who really needs them.

7 TheMadHouse December 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I am sat here in tears. I so, so understand the feeling of having to let go of ever having another baby and wanting the baby things to go to people who need them. I couldn’t e-bay my boys old things, they went to a friend of my mums teenage daughter who had twins and she was overjoyed at receiving them.

In a selfish way it made me feel better knowing they went to someone who would Cherish them.

Although I could not imagine ever having to look through a dumpster. It sadens me that the gulf between haves and have nots is getting wider and wider

8 Chic Mama December 22, 2009 at 2:27 pm

So sad but just imagine how much you enriched his and his newborn baby’s life. Unbelievable in this day that such actions are needed but at least you know the baby items went to someone that surely truly appreciated it .

I too have to get rid of ‘things’ when the children aren’t looking.

9 nixdminx December 22, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Wow – that’s really what Christmas is about and I’m doing the same thing around the house but getting nowhere. We have some really big toys that have never been used even and much as I’ve given stuff away to friends and school fetes, there’s still a whole room full. Amazing that you actually got to see where the stuff went too. Merry Christmas x

10 Quixotic December 22, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Wow – every now and then the Real Meaning of Christmas jumps up and its ya, huh? Great post.

11 nappyvalleygirl December 22, 2009 at 3:56 pm

What a wonderful, heartwarming post. But so, so sad that this is the richest country in the world and there are those who still forage in dumpsters for baby clothes x

12 So Lovely December 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm

What a wonderful story – that filled my heart with joy and happiness. One of the loveliest things about traveling 1/2 around the world for Christmas is that its about being with family and not presents (as there’s really not room).

13 Knackered Mother December 23, 2009 at 4:52 am

What an extraordinary thing to happen. I was thinking about ebaying larger-item-ridiculous-cost baby stuff but not now. Am going to google a refuge instead.

Happy Christmas, and thank you for the prompt x

14 Vic December 23, 2009 at 5:04 am

What is it with men clinging to their holey underwear? Maybe it’s cos boxers just aren’t as exciting as us girlies’ lacy undies.
It’s always good to see your old stuff helping others, but to have such a connection like that is amazing. I wish that family well.

15 Bryony December 23, 2009 at 10:35 am

you’ve bought tears to my eyes – so pleased you were there to help him – wishing you a very lovely holiday bx

16 Metropolitan Mum December 23, 2009 at 2:20 pm

This is easily the most beautiful Christmas post I have read. Merry Christmas to you and your family! x

17 Sarah December 24, 2009 at 3:28 am

Such a beautiful, uplifting story. How wonderful to see your much loved baby things go to a very deserving home. I think my eyes would have filled with a few tears after such an experience. Wishing you and your family the most wonderful, peaceful and magic Christmas from afar in New Zealand.

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