The “Musts” of Life

I don’t know what was in the water Sunday, but The Doc and I went on an organizing/sorting/cleaning frenzy that began in the basement and ended with lot and lots of piles around the house. Luckily these piles have their own destination and I am hoping that they will find their ways to their new homes soon. Can you say five empty rubbermaid-esque storage bins? Um yes.

Sunday night after the girls were in bed and The Doc was at work, I decided to tackle some projects in our room. I basically unearthed an under-bed storage container that held about ten old journals from ’95 to ’03ish, plus or minus some months and years. As I flipped through the pages I will admit feeling, well, bored. There really wasn’t much dirt, no ramblings of a teenager in love or going off the deep end. You know, the feelings you thought you had in those days. Maybe I wasn’t as nuts as I had previously thought. Or maybe I was just smart enough not to record my insanity. Regardless, those were some lame journals and I send them straight to the recycle box. So hey if you’re in the area and you want to know what my friends and I did junior year on a Saturday night, feel free to dig around and find a detailed account of us meeting up at so and so’s house, then going to such and such a restaurant/Denny’s/The Village Inn, and it being “rad.”

After the journal excavation, I decided to sort through my jewelry. If you know me at all, you know that I am not one who dons a great number of baubles on a regular basis. When I wore earrings yesterday, inspired by my discoveries, BQ was so puzzled and asked, “So, do you really have holes in your ears?” But, I have been given so many beautiful things over the years and it was cool to find them again. One of the best parts was pulling out my jewelry box. I’m not the first owner of this box, as it was my moms and possibly my grandmas, but I’m not sure. Regardless, when you open it there is no “new box” scent. Instead you’re greeted with a musty scent. What’s great is that it doesn’t leave you reaching for the febreeze, but wanting to go in for a better look and a deeper breath. It’s a scent that is sure to hold a very good story.

As I sorted through the first clothes that my girls wore after entering this world, a gold bracelet with my maiden name engraved on it from my 16th birthday, and file folders full of ten year old documents I was struck by just how much stuff I’ve accumulated. I know I’ve talked about stuff before, but this time around it was different. I realized that it isn’t necessarily the stuff itself, but where the stuff can lead us that we desire. The reason I don’t throw out my jewelry box and purchase a new one is because I want to experience that jewelry box scent when I open it. To feel like a little girl wandering into my mom’s room asking her to show me her rings again. Just like I couldn’t part with my grandma’s 40 year old passport, which now resides in the bottom of the jewelry box. And that sweet little outfit that we brought our girls home from the hospital in was also the one that my parents brought me home in thirty years ago. How could I toss that in a pile of random clothes that my girls have outgrown?

These “musts” of my life are my monuments, my sacred items, and my history. In the end, it isn’t the stuff itself, but what that stuff allows my heart to feel and my senses to experience. When I put on my Nana’s watch with its turquoise/silvery goodness I can see just a little bit more clearly the outline of her face and her hands in my mind. I live with things that are musty, because they are too precious to forget. I’m learning what it means to get rid of the “stuff” while holding onto the treasures. Not because they themselves are valuable or necessary, but because events and people of my past are too important to leave behind. So please come over, and smell my jewelry box. I’ll even show you my high school ring.


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