My retired mom and dad moved to Philly in 2004. As a result, everything in the house had to go, including mom & dad’s dining room table. That table came with me, and would become the dining room table in our small, first house. At that point my wife and I were actually making an effort at sit down dinners, as it was just the two of us (well, and our dog Abby). But in 2007 we added our daughter, and for the rest our time there, we would more often than not eat standing up in the kitchen, while mashing food into toddler’s mouths in their high chairs.

In a few years we would move to the suburbs and into a bigger house; a house with a eat-in kitchen, as well as a dining room. Now the four of us could sit around the same table in the kitchen and eat as a [sitting] family. Again, the table that had been assigned to the dining room would sit mostly unused, save for special holiday dinners, and for spreading out the kids school projects.

Eventually, my wife found a dining room table that could serve more guests. I was fine with this new table; yet, the table from my parents had been in my family for more than 40 years. It was a wedding present to my mom, from her grandmother. I was fine with casting it down to the basement, but wanted it to remain for now – let one of the kids eventually take it, and make it “their” first table.

Years went by. We collected more and more stuff. Piled it up. Stacked it on top of other stuff …like our hand me down dining room table.

This year we decided to finish the basement. (Before then it was just concrete and exposed beams. That meant taking the very-spread out “stuff” and finding it a home in the now-1/4 are of the basement designated as storage – or getting rid of it. But getting rid of this artifact wasn’t something I could realistically consider; it had been in my family before I was in my family. And I had to the chance to let it carry on. But in the mean time, my wife was also making hard decisions of what to keep and what to pitch. That meant I needed to do that too.

Ultimately what made it possible was a call to my mom. I told her I was trying to figure out what to do with it, and that keeping it was borne out of the sentimentality of the piece – not its utility. Mom encouraged me to let it go / let some other family use it now, not wait 6+ years until the oldest kid maybe could use it in her college apartment. And that was that. Sometimes I just need an earful of reason and encouragement to ‘get rid of it’.