Friday, September 19, 2008

Contents

Dan and I are finally starting to put some real time into our contents list. I feel a little more detached from the whole thing now, and it seems ok to think back through the loss. It's amazing to me the things our friends remember that I have forgotten. I know that there are specific memories for them attached to different things, so it's different. I'm most worried about trying to think about what was in the garage. I can remember what I saw everyday. It's harder to remember the nostalgic things that were stored away. Some of the things that we've realized we lost:

A small wooden kid's chair. I think it was made by my grandfather who did a lot of woodworking. It was in my dad's house as a kid. Whenever we had friends over with kids, they would always sit in this chair. Dan and I had a Cabbage Patch doll in it in the corner for a while because it was amusing.

The journal I kept when I was 10. I can think back to experiences as a child, but it is really hard to recreate the emotions that I was actually experiencing. Not that it is always comfortable reading about your teenage angst, but I will never be able to read about my first kiss or date again.

My college newspaper. I was the editor of one of my college's newspapers. I kept the old editions. I also had copies of articles that had been published to use as writing samples when I pitched stories to magazines. I had edited a few books as well, and I lost those manuscripts (as well as the final copy of the books that had been signed).

A ceramic prayer wheel with all of the major religions of the world. It was so unique and perfect and served as such a great reminder of the circle of life.

The Christmas stocking I had just finished for Dan. My mom made me a stocking in my late teen years with embellishments from my childhood. I had just been thinking a couple of weeks before the fire how I would never need another stocking. I wanted Dan to have a handmade stocking as well, so I had picked out the fabric and crazy quilted him a stocking. All I had left was the finishing stitches on the binding.

A bottle of 1998 Champagne that we were saving for Dan's college graduation. Dan has struggled in school, and going back to college was a huge deal for him. He has had to work so hard, and taking this semester off has actually been really difficult for him. We bought the bottle on our honeymoon, and we had saved it for the right moment. I guess that's what you get for delayed gratification.

A pansy box my mom had painted for my 13th birthday. The box went back and forth between my mom and me for many years during my teenage years. I "gave" it to her if I was mad, and she gave it back when I was nice and cooperative. I've had it now for many years without needing to return it!

The thing is that they are all just objects. I had been having an inner dialogue about knowing that I needed to learn a lesson in non-attachment. But I AM attached to things and to the memory of things. I cannot recreate my journal or my emotions, and I have nothing left of that time. My children will never be able to go through my high school things and laugh at how ridiculous we were... or how silly our clothes looked. They won't be able to look through my senior yearbook and see that my picture isn't there and have me tell them the story of the mixup between schools and the yearbook teacher who was mad at me for something that was written in the school newspaper that I edited. There are also some things though that I probably needed to let go of and wouldn't have otherwise. There were many things from my parents' marriage- letters while they were engaged, their wedding album... there were letters from ex-boyfriends. I didn't want to let go of that part of my past because it made me who I am. But I think you have to let go a little in order to move on. And I am learning that lesson over and over. I have to let go of my past in order to move forward. I am making room for the new memories... the memories that Dan and I will create with our children. And I guess that's ok.

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