Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Point of Our Possessions

I was looking for a mug in which to brew my first cup of tea today, and a tan one, with a maroon H&H Bagels logo, was at the front. I pulled it down and smiled, remembering how it came to live in my cupboard five years ago.

A man who had been my boyfriend in high school sent it to me, along with a dozen New York bagels, after my mother died. We don't have real bagels here in Northwest Arkansas -- it's the water or the baker's attitude or both -- so they were a real treat and a comfort.
And now, as I filled the cup with our Fayetteville water (filtered, of course, because our family business is water filtration), I felt a warm rush remembering the kindness that he showed me, even though my mother had been a real thorn in his side when we were kids.

He's probably still asleep in New York where he lives, and I don't really know him anymore, except for the core person I met when we were seniors, trying to figure out our feelings and futures. The point of this story, though, is the point of our possessions.

Every few months, I go through various closets or cabinets, weeding out the stuff that almost accumulates on its own, but I won't be giving this mug to The Salvation Army, because every time I use it, I feel that warm rush of affection for the young man I dated, who befriended me again when my mom died. It connects me with him, on a virtual or spiritual or emotional or vibrational level ... you get to call it whatever you want, but it is an energy thing and energy, though invisible, is real. If you're a doubting Thomas, go stick your finger in a socket.

So, to the unclutter experts, I would say, "Don't just toss something you haven't used in a year IF it gives you joy to look at it, to hold it in your hands."

Leave it for your kids to toss!

I don't consider myself to be very materialistic. You come to my house and you will find old furniture, bought at The Salvation Army and recovered. And most of my clothes have been with me for years. The washer and dryer celebrate my husband's and my wedding anniversary with us each year.

But, I have my possessions. The little diamond pendant that my mom wore around her neck for years now graces mine. A tiny wooden bookcase that my Grampa built for my dad holds my canned beverages. The favorite books I read to my children remain in my bookcase to be read to their children. There's more, of course, but these illustrate my story.

Like The Velveteen Rabbit, some special possessions become transformed by time and memories and love. And those we want to hang onto because they have the magic to brighten the moments of our lives.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Family That Sleeps Together Keeps Together

T'was the week after Christmas (and Hanukkah) and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
T'was a mixed blessing: The quiet after all the activity was welcome, but I missed having family eating and laughing and sleeping under one roof.
I like it when family sleeps in the same house.
The family that sleeps together keeps together. That's always been my motto.
But now, Jeremy and I are empty-nesters ... for nearly two months' running. And we miss having little -- and big -- feet pattering about 24/7.
So it felt good to have our oldest son, who lives in Colorado, stay with us during Hanukkah.
And it felt good for me to sleep in the same bed with our youngest daughter when I went to visit her in Austin, because she couldn't make it home for the holidays.
When Jeremy joined me in Austin, we spent the next two nights' with our other Austin daughter and her husband.
We had five nights in a row sleeping with the family.
When I was a child, I couldn't imagine sleeping in a house alone. And as an adult, I pretty much avoided it by getting married three times.
There's a warm fuzzy feeling to hearing a family member gently snoring in the next room. Kind of like a white-noise machine. And it negates the need for a sleeping pill.
Family members -- regardless of religion, politics, or birth order -- are indelibly linked to us, and, I think, an extension of ourselves, even if it's not politically correct to admit.
They may drive us bonkers when they're awake, but ... when they're sleeping, oh, don't they look like angels!