Saturday, November 12, 2011


I have been sorting through stuff for the past few days.  A lot of stuff.  We have lived in this house for almost 30 years, and we brought stuff with us when we arrived here.  A house full of stuff. 

Some of it I can let go - a broken ceramic box, a jewellery box an old boyfriend gave me, the cat perch, a foot brace from a long ago battle with plantar fasciitis.

But, the masks of my children as teenagers, their school work, drawings, baby shoes, baby sun hats, photographs.  I can't let those things go.  I don't want to.  Because even if I only look through them every few years, they bring back memories.  My son and I spent some time going through his school box this weekend.  He was sorting out things to move out.  To leave home.  Again.  And there he was - sitting on the couch wearing  the yellow gnome hat he had made in kindergarten.  There we were looking at pictures of school friends.  Laughing.  Both, I think, feeling a little sad that he was moving to his new place, but knowing it was right. 

We also spent about an hour sorting coins, rolling pennies, nickels, dimes - and challenging each other to find the oldest coin.  He won - 1934 american penny. 

Because there are always treasures to find in boxes, under beds, in closets.  In this messy, cluttered, little house there are many memories.  Not always the tidiest of lives but ones filled with love.

Because there is my daughter's little blue sun bonnet, and I can see her face under it, as clear as 22 years ago.  And there is my son's hornby island hat, and I can see him sorting rocks on Carmichael beach 24 years ago.  All those years ago. 

So, tonight, my husband and I are sorting.  Papers, bills, wills and estates and parents lost.  Finding photos of ourselves as wee ones.  Finding remnants of jobs long gone, and sometimes finding memorabilia we have no recollection of.  So much stuff.

So, I am cleaning house.  Metaphorically.  Literally.  Paradoxically. 

Because there were moments I wish that my study was still my son's bedroom, that the guest room downstairs was filled with my daughter, and not just her stuff.  That the pictures of my father, and his sister were not just pictures - that there was still time to mend broken hearts with my mother.

My life isn't the stuff I have.  The stuff I have isn't my life.  But somehow we are inexplicably connected.

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