Memories and Stuff

This blog is little different than my others...it is personal musings about becoming a mom...

This morning, I was walking around my house, getting things cleaned up and thinking "wow, we have a lot of stuff."  Sometime after my college years, I became more inclined to throw things away, rather than accumulate a lot of clutter.  I used to keep everything.  I remember a coloring project from elementary or junior high school that I spent hours doing and I just could never bring myself to part with it.  It was the cartoon character "Beetle Bailey."  I didn't have it on my wall in my room or in a frame, just in a box of things I wanted to keep.  There were countless other "to keep" boxes that I moved from one apartment to the next, I suppose because even though the trinkets in the boxes hardly ever saw the light of day, at least when I went through them every other year or so, it reminded me of simpler times.  There were birthday cards from years ago, pictures of random people, movie ticket stubs, miniature golf score cards, and brightly colored programs from show choir and theater performances.  Not completely sure why I kept them, except maybe I thought that one day, if I got lucky, my husband or my child might want to know more about my interests and what I was like in high school or college.  Or maybe I would want to look back and remember myself.

In those days, when I was single, I felt more like a gypsy now that I think back.  I never lived anywhere for longer than a year or two, didn't really have ties to anyone, and wasn't so much interested in a 'normal' life.  I craved being an artist, longing for creativity as my way of rebellion.  For the most part, we had a peaceful existence when I was a child.  We lived on farmland in Southeast Tennessee where, if the wind blew just right, you caught lovely whiffs of the chicken houses.  I played with my cousins, and loved going to visit my grandparents, one set across the street, and the other, just across town.  We spent many family vacations at Disney World where I first learned that magic was possible.  Life was whimsical, and I knew that everyone's world must be like mine. 

Church was a BIG part of our lives.  We joke and say not only were we there every time the doors were open, we unlocked the doors!  My parents were involved in church leadership, youth trips, committees, and decision-making.  We rarely missed church.  One time, my parents were sick and I went with my grandparents to church.  I came home and mom said "What did you do at church?"  I replied, "We had the Lord's supper but he didn't come."

I used to write more.  I used to sit and reflect on my life on the page and wonder aloud what the future would hold.  I tried to be creative and deep and concentrate hard to make more out of life than was there.  I took pictures, wrote poems, particpated in theater and hoped that whatever made me different from everyone else would find its niche.  Now, it's a chore for me to write.  I've been told all of my life what a wonderful writer I am.  But it has never come easy.  I'm usually pleased at the end product when I write, but it's hard to start.  I have been thinking a lot lately about memories and the stuff we accumulate that goes with them.  I've been nesting, getting our house ready for the next phase of our marriage: parenthood.  I've been throwing away our possessions to make room for hers.  Maybe that's what this blog is about:  mourning the loss of my own memories to prepare Justin and me for someone else's childhood.  We are passing from one stage of life to the next and this stage, more than any other, will have us put our 'stuff' aside for the sake of our daughter. 

I want her life to be filled with wonderful memories, both in boxes and in real time.  I bring the past 38 years with me to parenting this little girl...those 38 years have been beautiful and sad, amazing and uncertain, laughable and scary.  Maybe I'm realizing that I don't have to keep a lot of stuff in boxes to show her who I am...all of that stuff in those boxes IS me.  I am the product of my memories and experiences.  If I am faithful to the girl inside me and the woman I have become, Amber Joy will know that the past 38 years has prepared me for this one task: motherhood.

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