Recently, Monkey toes and I tackled the job of cleaning out our storage shed. Our goal is to park our vehicles (well at least mine) in our garage. A novel idea, I know! We began by making piles. One was a "keep" pile, one a "trash" pile, one a "donate" pile and one a "family members" pile. In the very back of the shed were three boxes with my name marked on them. What I unveiled took me on a walk down memory lane. These boxes were originally stored at my parent's home, and once we bought our own house, my parents gave them back. I haven't seen many of these items since High School.
Box number one contained my Letter Jacket and my first Bible - it was given to me at my First Communion. Box number two was filled with items from my dorm room in college - one of which was a Lego set that Monkey Toes gave to me. It was a gift that he mailed to me at college my freshman year. I had shared with him a long time before then, that one toy I had always wanted as a kid but never received was Legos. To this day, it is still one of the most thoughtful presents I have ever received. The third box really brought me back to my childhood. It contained notes from my elementary crush, Homecoming buttons, letters from Monkey Toes, birthday cards from my parents and grandparents, and a note that my friend Rhea gave me in 7th grade. I spent HOURS scouring through these boxes. I brought them all into our living room, poured myself a glass of wine, and started reminiscing. I also brought along a garbage bag, thinking that I would condense these items into one box. What I discovered, is that it was more difficult to throw items out than I had imagined. Why is it so important for me to hold on to a Homecoming button from my youth? Why am I holding on to an old prom corsage? I'm not sure where my internal struggle stems from, but I wound up keeping the 3 boxes and placing them back into storage. Maybe they will be a project for another day.
As I was looking through the boxes, I had a smile on my face from the many wonderful experiences I've had in my life. Although some of those keepsakes are over 30 years old, the memory seems like just yesterday. What I've learned is how short life is, how fast time passes, and the impact simple gestures and acts of kindness imprint upon my life. Maybe that's why letting go of the past seems so difficult. It is a reminder of how blessed I truly am, with my faith, family and friends.