September 25, 2018
Skittering, shuffling, scampering, out of breath I am.
Books and papers and recipes,
photos and letters and souvenirs.
Spilling over. Cramped and crowded I am,
this stuff of forty years, tucked away, stored, forgotten.
I have become not the boss of my house.
Declutter I must!
Out with forgotten books we haven’t read in ten years.
But not this one, this one I read as a new mom.
Out with these receipts, yellowed with age, hard to read.
But not this one, Jonathan’s first ten-speed bike.
These recipes can go, how did there get to be so many?
But I’ll keep these with my pencil notes at the bottom,
when I was only just learning to cook,
learning to be a mom, learning to be a wife.
But oh, the photos and souvenirs and mementoes!
These boxes hold the history of our lives.
Remember this vacation, how small the boys were then?
Broken arms, first days at school, proud drawings.
And then I find it, fallen here to the bottom of the box,
the necklaces from the neighbor’s rummage sale.
Bought with my sons’ own dimes and nickles,
laid on my plate at supper to surprise me.
I lift them from the box and hold them to my chest.
And I know, this stuff, all this stuff
is not just junk as I thought,
no, never junk!
Each thing a gift to carry us back through days and years
and weeks of our lives together, reminding us
of babies born, of birthdays and anniversaries,
of illness and healing.
Of jobs lost, and companies on strike.
Of new cars, and bunk beds, and vacations.
Of children grown and leaving.
And of deaths.
I save out these few things, ones that warm my heart.
And back they go, into their box, onto the shelf.
One shelf for them now. Not ten.
Nine shelves left, empty, open, waiting.
I will fill them again, soon.
With memories of today, of this year, and next.
With mementoes of my new adventures,
now that I am 75!