“Is it okay?” They ask me, earnestly, imploringly.
“Is what okay?”
“Is it okay not to keep it?”
“Like, since my sister gave it to me?”
“Since I’ve had it since college?”
“Since it was my now-deceased grandmother’s?”
They ask me this as if there were some household inventory we’re all meant to abide by, some long-ago established rules about what a person must own.
To be clear, there is no such thing as a complete household inventory, a list of items which you’re required to have on hand at any given time. No one has now or will ever have the job of going from house to house, running down the checklist, inquiring as to the ownership status of things like children’s artwork, travel souvenirs, or crystal stemware.
There are literally no rules.
There is only what is right for you, and for your family.
Material belongings are no to different to food, clothing, activities, school, or summer camps; they are all entities you get to choose based off of what most aligns with your values and goals.
If healthy eating is a priority for you, you might at some point consider the fact that your neighbors send their kids to school with Lunchables–and you’ll go ahead and send your kids in with their all organic veg-fest regardless.
You won’t debate, ruminate, or worry whether other mothers are sending their kids to school with an apple or a pear. As a result, your child will grow up having had the experience of the school lunches you provided, as opposed to that of the neighbor child’s experience of Lunchables. That’s all.
If there is one single thing you are in control of, besides your body, it is your home. Your space. You are the president and vice president and duchess supreme and that means that you get to decide what you keep and what you pass on, without worry of what things others are keeping or passing on, without fear of others finding out what you’ve kept or passed on; without doubt.
So when they ask me, “Is it okay?”
I ask them, “Is it?”
“Yeah…” they manage.
“Then yeah.” I say.