Hello lovelies! We’re back with this series today!
For the first time in our not-so-little stint in this home, I have a place for all my ribbon and baker’s twine. Who knew ribbon and baker’s twine deserved a home?
I know where my colored pencils are. It’s the little things.
It’s all been slow progress… repurposing and thinking through our spaces. If I’m being honest, it takes consistency. Some areas have become un-organized since we organized, and will need to be re-organized… it’s this vicious cycle of figuring out what works, what doesn’t… and having a genuine appreciation for the little accomplishments in the meantime.
I made the mistake of placing deadlines on myself. This takes time. You have to live your life while you work your way through the past. Time. It doesn’t stop.
Yesterday, I decided to tackle this.
I spent that morning completely engulfed in a past life. It hasn’t been opened in at least ten years. It was packed away and forgotten. This little trunk was a gift from my little brother and sister when I graduated high school. And throughout college it stored, of all things, keepsakes.
So when I opened it for the first time yesterday, it was an unintentional time capsule. Filled to the brim with memories from my senior year of high school and college.
I found one of my first sketchbooks. And shoddy writing on a thesis paper from a nightmare of a Great Books course. I never really cared for The Iliad. Or that professor.
I found photos of graduation, and cards that were sent when my grandmother passed away. I found a freestyle poem I wrote in high school, for which I won an award. (I know. Hilarious.) An entire scrapbook I made of my senior year. I found sweet letters just because, from college friend after college friend. According to said letters, there were boys. There was drama. There was skipping classes to lay out, and lots of trips to the beach.
I found mixed tapes, which of course, I have yet to toss. We didn’t have such frivolties as a CD burner. I must find a tape player. They deserve one last run.
I found love letters from Jamin. Lots of sweet, innocent, genuine old fashioned love letters.
I jumped up and down like a little girl when I found my old lava lamp. My kids had never seen such a contraption. It doesn’t work anymore. It lit up, but the lava was toast. It was still fun to re-discover something I’d completely forgotten about. I made Jamin toss it out because I couldn’t bear to do it.
I found hilarious drawings from my brother. One of them our family tree, suggesting that I am good at drawing, my sister at tennis, and he, at eating. Antics that only family could appreciate.
I found photos from our rehearsal dinner slideshow that I must have tucked into said trunk before I relocated it with us to two apartments, and two homes in ten years of our marriage. Jamin had some serious Kirk Cameron hair. I guess that explains my obsession with Kirk, and Jordan Knight circa 1988.
In other news, I think we were pretty cute babies.
I tossed and donated most of the ridiculous things like puppy shoes, and sketchbooks and found myself baffled as to why I would save them in the first place. When I was younger, I’m sure I thought I’d hold on to them forever. It was freeing.
Then I sat down and read every single letter from every dear friend. There were tears. And there were lots of laughs. I parted with a few.
And I gathered the ones that were worth salvaging into a bundle.
One day, I will be glad I saved the letters from my mother asking me not to rush into a relationship at the young age of twenty. I’ll be glad I can keep a portion of the wonderful cheesefest that was freshman year. I will be glad I have the letter from my grandmother telling me she traveled with her friend Mildred to a church singing that afternoon and that they had lots of rain in Mississippi. At the end, she apologized for her sloppy handwriting, even though it was never less than schoolmarm perfection. Those letters and those memories are all I have left of those moments. They are tiny glimpses into something seemingly small that was a window of my life.
They were treasures when I received them. They are still treasures now.
And I will be glad I saved the love letters. Every single one from the man I eventually married.
One day my children’s children’s children will want to know who their great grandparents were. And while I don’t want to burden anyone with a house full of fluff, It will be good to have a photo. And to know that we wrote love letters, and skipped classes to go to the beach, and got bad grades on thesis papers.
Time. It passes much too quickly.
Purging your home is a journey. It takes real guts to pummel through old memories and tackle the things that are taking up space. It’s not easy. But it’s worth it. It lightens the literal burden a little, and stirs the beautiful (and not so much) memories we’ve created in the lives we’ve lived. Sprinkled in with the every day. It’s nice to clear out the cobwebs.
When I finally stepped away from that chest, it was as if I came up for air after a long swim under water. Sometimes, I find that I have trouble letting go. And that morning, I was able to release some of the tangled remnants of childhood that for lots of reasons, had been cooped up in that chest all those years.
Some things are just things. Others, are absolutely priceless.
Be kind to yourself. We’re all on a crazy journey.