An embroidered handkerchief. It's folded into an envelope that also holds a note from my mother, saying her grandmother made it, and maybe someday if I have a daughter it could be the something old. I love the handkerchief. And I love the note written by a woman much younger than I am now, who has loved me all my life.
An 18 year old hand written note from a teenage boy studying in Spain for the semester. A kilt bought in Scotland for a 4 year old girl who is now 35. A single earring that lost its mate, but was loved enough to go into the little painted box instead of the trash. A card from a young man I fell in love with, the one I married shortly after the note was written. The one I am blessed to share my life with still.
I can hold these things in my hands and remember the me who held them years before. Taken one day at a time, 63 years is a very long time. I'm not exactly sure when the days that became years, became decades. It was a subtle shift, that bending of time. One minute there was a long stretch ahead of me, plans to be made, stuff to be done, so much to learn. Holding the little treasures in my box of things brings that time into sharp focus. If I looked in the mirror at this exact moment, I know I would be surprised by the gray hair and face of my grandmother. I remember how my children smelled when they were new. I remember their little puffs of breath on my neck as I rocked them. I remember how I felt in my skin.
Sometimes I think about how some of the sweetest memories are not from big events, but from the little moments of perfection that happened through the years. The time when the laughter or the tears, the dancing or the quiet moments walking in the evening light, lined up with my heart and made me feel I was the luckiest person ever to live.
We've just moved to new house. A much smaller house. Which has caused me to go through everything we've amassed through the years. To hold it in my hands, and to let go of a lot of it. But some I'll keep. Some will stay in this little box of things. To remind me of the me who lived back then. To remind me to say thank you.