An *unabashed* Keeper of Things

8 Jun

I have always been a keeper of things, all things, pretty wine bottles, old costume jewelry that I no longer wear, receipts, scribbled notes, kids school papers (and not just the occasional odd art project, but everything from spelling lists to math worksheets to field trip permission slips).

I don’t know why I keep everything, might have something to do with my mother and her mother before her.  Of course, receipts is an old school lesson I learned from my parents who were audited once.  The scribbled notes because I may have jotted down a random phone number or email that didn’t make it into the family address book but that might be needed one day.  And, surprisingly, I can almost always find the name/phone number/email that I need at the moment when I need it from the stacks that are evident in every desk setting in our house.

Fortunately, I’m not to the point of an out and out pack rat.  Every spring I’m struck with a purge bug and the receipts, scribbled notes, random cards, catalogs and the like are tossed mostly without hesitation.  And I’m not so far gone that I have broken sea shells in a box, or random buttons in a drawer…

There are only two things that I keep over the long haul, and cherish as near and dear to me, and that is anything related to my family (husband, children, family genealogy – I’m the sole genealogist in my generation of my family, and my husband’s for that matter), the other is anything related to writing (mine or someone else’s, I appreciate all creative efforts with the written word).

Of course there are books, shelves and boxes and lots and lots of books.  I’m a card carrying bibliophile.  There are half filled journals tucked away in all my favorite corners.  Half filled because I’m a writer that constantly needs inspiration, I often buy journals with pretty covers that “speak” to me in that moment, and the initial inspiration is often gone long before I ever come close to even contemplating the completion of said journal.

As for my kids, I have as many things as I can keep and still on some level consider myself safely at arms length from developing OCD (I said at arms length, didn’t I?).  It’s all for moments when I can hold things like this:

I have almost every baby blanket any of my four kids ever used.  I say almost because the oldest is so old that some of his blankets migrated on to Goodwill ages ago.  But I have reminders of their babytime for each of my kiddos.  And they serve as reminders to me that each and every children is so precious to me.  They’ve each brought their unique souls into our lives for wonderful reasons, not the least of which is the smile they bring to the faces of myself and my husband every day.  Even in the moments when frustration rears it’s head over the difficulties of adjusting to life as a stay-at-home mom, when my career and my professional life had previously meant so much to my sense of who I am.

Being a keeper of things allows me to keep my perspective ab0ut things.   These are just things, reminders of job days gone by, reminders of social life no longer practical, and reminders of the joys I’m blessed to have experienced.

I’m a keeper of things, but more than that I’m a holder of happiness.  Most of the things that are kept beyond each year are the things that make me happy by reminding me that things are not what makes me happy.   Life is.

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