As I near my 27th birthday, I cannot help but sift through my box of cherished memories, (not so) eloquently called my “special things.” Growing up a military brat has taught me that things are disposable, so learning what to keep and throw out is a necessity. It is almost as if my entire life has been collected in one small box.
Looking through this box is overwhelming.
There is a glass cigar box full of handwritten notes exchanged between an old friend throughout middle and high-school. A friend that drove many hours to be with me on my wedding day and still makes me laugh all these years later.
There is an old stocking from my first Christmas that lasted over twenty years. My name has faded from that vibrant green glitter pen, but I couldn’t throw it away. There is a faded, ripped, and torn beach towel that I took to Kindergarten every day for naptime. Two t-shirts that we made as a class for theatre freshman year. The shirt I wore as I watched my beautiful bridesmaids get ready themselves and then help me on my special day. A bow from my one season of cheerleading.
Softball gloves given to me when a friend passed away. It is really all that I have left of her. I will never use them, but I will forever cherish them as I still cherish her memory. It helps to see them, to smell them even, when I forget the simplest things, like what her voice sounded like. You never think you would forget something like that, but time is savage.
I love birthday cards. Any cards really. Only, I want handwritten words from the heart. Those are the true treasure. I keep special ones from throughout the years and reading them again is both painful and sweet. They serve as a reminder of the precious time from when they were new, yet now from some, the words are just that: words.
An old lock from one of my high-school lockers, keys to old diaries which are hidden away in the box as well, old poems and books I had begun once upon a time, a plaster mask from one of my school years, pins and jewelry, forgotten knickknacks wrapped in tissue paper. The list could go on and on…
This box is so much like my soul; chaotic, yet an organized collection of memories and beautiful times long since passed. Somewhere in the chaos we find what truly matters. We keep and pack what we need to go on.
We remember the things that once brought us peace, happiness, encouragement, and strength.