Four or five years ago this month, I went on one of my occasional random neat-freak rampages and started clearing out old toys from our basement playroom that the kids weren't using anymore. Good toys, not junk; just the outgrown things. As is my habit, I posted them on Freecycle rather than having to deal with a yard sale or consignment store. Some of the email replies I received on that particular occasion absolutely broke my heart: they were coming from people who wanted my kids' cast-off toys to give to their own children for Christmas, since they couldn't afford anything else. Since that profoundly eye-opening experience, I've made a point of doing an annual toy clearout every December. I got to it later this year than I wanted to, but it did finally get done.
My kids are beyond blessed in a material sense. I've tried and tried to explain that to them, but they really can't begin to comprehend that any child could have nothing, because it is so far from their own experience and that of their friends. This is why we do the Giving Tree, too. I asked Thing One to go through his toys for me yesterday and reminded him why, and he was happy to help me. He took care of the 'boy' section of the basement, but that still left the smaller domain that is Petunia's.
She's always been very attached to her belongings, even the ones that any rational observer would note are far too young for her. In the past, I've gone through her toys while she was out of the house or asleep to forestall the inevitable tears when she sees her things bagged up to be given away. This year, though, she wandered downstairs while I was sorting and offered to help me. I could tell that it was hard for her to give some of her things away, but she did it, and she didn't cry. She helped me find missing pieces to some of the sets, and even went above and beyond by bringing me extra toys of hers to put in the bags of her own volition. For any six year-old, but especially that six year-old, that's tough stuff.
Funny how her voluntary act of sharing made me feel more Christmassy than most of the other things we've done this month, too. Way to go, little girl.