It seems my efforts to de-clutter are also going for emotional clutter as well. I brought all of the baby pictures I had with me when I left Tennessee. As part of the final divorce proceeding the judge ordered me to provide an estimate of the cost of reproduction of said photos, and for the ex to pay for the cost, at which time I was to send him the copies, and after 30 days, if the cost of reproduction was not paid, the photos would be considered moot. The funds were never sent, and so the photos were never copied or sent. Pictures including the ex would find their way up to my mom's cabin for safe storage until someday when the children were older, and might want them for themselves.
My mom has had some issues with Rocky Mountain Wood rats, which as it turns out, are more closely related to prairie dogs than rats, but they are highly evolved creatures that can survive almost anything, and can amazingly burrow and chew through all kinds of material. She's been working to exorcise the destructive creatures from the structure, and we think she just about has it done. But she was concerned between the rodents of unusual size, and the repairs needing to be made to the structure, about any kind of damage to the photos, knowing that they are likely the only copies I have. So I brought them home, along with other childhood photos. She still has some albums we will need to sit down together and cull from my childhood, but mainly because she knows that looking through those will be traumatic for both of us, and it is something we will need to do together. I'm thinking after we do, the discards will be fuel for a cleansing fire. But we'll see.
In any case, I've been making an effort to scan in my childhood photos so the kids can see them, and so I can share them with other family members who might not have ever gotten copies of them. And in doing that I had to ponder what the hell to do with the pictures of the ex. So I came up with a solution, finally after all of these years. I created an album on-line, uploaded photos, and sent the links to him and to the children so they can access them anytime they want to. And being that I now have a scanner, I can get it done at no more cost than just my time. I still have a couple of discs to go through and get uploaded eventually, as I have the time and inclination to do so. But now I feel like I can mail the hard copies of the photos to his mom, and not worry about whether or not they'll ever be available to the kids someday. In a digital age, there is just no good reason anymore not to get these to the people who may want them, and to let go of my guardianship of the past.