Nothing like moving to get your summer started off with a bang. Well actually to get your summer started exhausted. Exhausted and eager to purge … and reflective. Reflective and sappy.
Seriously. Upon opening boxes (or “packages” as Jack so positively saw them) and unearthing long lost (hidden in some closet or under a bed) treasures, I could almost hear Barbara Streisand crooning Memories from the other side of the room. Many “misty, watercolor memories” came back to life as I held tattered projects, yellowed photos, and I’m-so-glad-I-saved-these in my hands.
Some of the stuff we found included:
- Pictures. Such fun photos of the kids when they were little, when they were learning to ride bikes, when they were sleeping. And so many rolls of film that haven’t had developed. And I realized – okay, so it was brought to my attention by a certain last child that “there aren’t any pictures of me!” Poor thing. I’m hoping that will be remedied this week.
- Lots and lots of toys that I saved for some reason. I know my intentions were great. But I think our grandkids won’t miss playing with a huge wooden castle as much as another child will enjoy it today. Hello again Goodwill truck at Mockingbird and Abrams. I’m sure you’re tired of seeing me this week.
- Books, books, and more books. Amazing finds like my grandmother’s copies of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre – with her name (written by her and the date she got it … LOVE!!)
- Coupons from places I really miss (!!!) like Slider’s & Blues (hey – it may have been filthy and that game room was a zoo – but the pizza and fun atmosphere is still hard to beat.) And our frequent buyer card from EZ’s. We miss you.
- One box of my own keepsakes – pics from college, a few childhood special memories … but not enough! I wanted more and am sad that practical won out somewhere along the way.
- A phone book.
“Oh… What’s this?” exclaimed one of the kids.
“Wow! Look at all those numbers,” replied a grabbing sibling that had to see for himself.
“It’s a phone book,” I say.
I guess I found someone from the dark ages, too. It wasn’t that long ago!!
One of the most fun things I found was a journal I had kept when on a semester in Paris.
I don’t even remember writing the thing. In fact, I had forgotten almost everything in it. And though I kept repeating things like “it’s so cold” and “I’ve never been so cold in my life” and “I’m freeeeeezing” [sidebar: the nice old widow who took my friend Christy and I in to live with her thought that turning on the gas for heat would kill you. Needless to say, we slept under a literal mountain of blankets, like a cocoon. It helped, but not much. We later realized that she made her room nice and toasty with three space heaters strategically placed by her bed.], and, though my writing had much to be desired, my mind was flooded with wonderful (some sad, most hilarious) memories as I turned each page. And I got to share them with my daughter who endured the reading.
I realized that in the midst of best intentions and true to my procrastinating self, I am missing out each time I don’t take a few moments to treasure what will, in the not so distant future, be memories.
So … even though I purged, I’m going to do my best to put aside and help the kids save a few of the keepsakes to help them remember. Photos, small projects, things that conjure the essence of special, though seemingly mundane, moments. Commemorating times with their grandparents, anything that conveys the laughter and fun and love that surrounds them.
I discovered in those boxes that it’s the little things that mean the most — like, for example, anything with my grandmothers’ hand writing. In one the boxes I found her hand-written cookbook. I’m never letting go of that one. Let’s just say, most of the Crisco-laden recipes will remain in the book. It’s the nothing notes written in the margin that make me smile.
What a reminder to me: write nothing notes. So what if Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are Jack’s favorites. He would eat a dozen every day. We all know that. But, truth is, we’ll forget.
So here’s to simple posterity. Hand-written is best. And yet another reminder to slow down and to savor the moments.
Kay Wyma is the author of Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. She shares the hilarity and the tears that come with raising adolescents & teens on her blog The Moat … because who wants to walk that road alone.