Owning Things

At this point in my life, I own almost nothing. 

I’ve never been much into things. 

I don’t know why. I’m not sure it matters. I’m just not. I could construct a few stories on that…like my being the fourth of four…ten years behind the third. By the time I came along, I think my parents were a little tired of stuff themselves. Birthdays were not celebrated in any material way. Neither was Christmas. 

I remember one Christmas Eve, my parents were divorced, my mom and I ate at a Wendy’s on our way to my sister’s house. My mom apologized, but you wanna know what’s funny? It’s the one Christmas Eve I remember in detail and the one where I felt her love…like really felt it. 

Anyway…I have my bike and my bike trainer, some clothes and shoes and about four boxes filled with mementos from my parents’ lives, my own and my kids’. 

And then I have the things on this table. 

See the book there with the ragged edges? One of our dogs did that. Hank gave me that book when he was about fourteen I think. It’s called “Love You Forever.” I read that book to him when he was little and dammit, I cried every time I read it. We lost that copy and he got me another one after a particularly painful screaming match between the two of us. And the truth really? I was doing the screaming. I was not a perfect parent. And as I write that I like the imperfections of parenting. They make us real to our kids. More forgiving I think. Let’s them see our humanness. 

See the funny little figurine? It’s tattered too and been put together several times with super glue. Helen made that. I think she was in kindergarten. She brought that home and oh so proudly handed it to me. “Look what I made!”. I don’t know what it is, but it’s beautiful just the way it is. 

See the pink heart box? I got that recently at a Girls on the Run event in Boston. The girls wrote what they loved about the program on small heart shaped pieces of paper and put them in the box. I read every one of them. Their names are all there. Elle, Bridget, Ariana, Gigi…

And that poem in a frame? My mom gave that to me after I had Helen. There are actually several items on the table that come from my mom. A wooden vase, a feather, the little hummingbird wind chime. 

And the brick. See that? I had to wiggle my way through a construction fence and climb over a barrier to get that beautiful, chipped brick. It comes from the old Blacksheep Skate Shop in South End (Charlotte). That whole block was torn down and replaced with some shiny new buildings. The truth be told, I don’t know what’s there now. We stopped spending much time in South End once that block was gone. 

I got this old brick for Hank but he didn’t care much about it; but I did. I carry it with me because it represents my mama-self. (I only realize this now.) The hours dropping off kids, picking up kids, worrying and delighting in their joys and heartaches. What a tumultuous and precious time those teenage years were. 

The sculpture from Bob, the mug from Sharon, the necklace from Lilly, the paper weight from Jill, the illustrations from Holly, the books from John, the candle from Rebecca are all fairly new editions. 

I love this feeling.

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