The Things We Keep.

it’s funny the things we keep. The things we keep for ourselves, the things we keep for our children, or in our case child. The things we keep for each other.

My mother kept my baby ring. What a funny thing to have.  I understand a baby cup, I guess I have one of those too, silverplated. I’m not sure I ever drank out of it. Do baby’s wear rings? It is too small for the tip of my finger, it might fit on my daughter’s hand.

I found the first ring I ever bought myself, gold plated, diamond chipped, from Avon. It’s not very pretty, but I spent my own money. My mother saved that for me too.

I gave it to my daughter. It’s a little big, it meant something to give her the first ring I bought, no matter how cheap it was. It wasn’t the value, it was…the value. That it was mine when I was just a bit older than she is. That somehow that girl that I was connects to the girl that she is.

She lost it. It is somewhere in our bedroom. Lost today while we watched Anime together. I am disappointed but not surprised. Kids lose things, sometimes faster than they get them. It’s not the thing, it’s what the thing means. She was so sorry she wrote lines and lines on a paper about being sorry. I’m sad the ring turned into this, instead of what I meant it to. I hope we find it and I’ll keep it until she’s a little older and try again. I don’t need to keep her sad lines, because I forgave her already, probably before she lost it.

I keep the collars from my cats, the ones that they wore the most, and their ashes with a picture on shelf far away from falling. I see them everyday, just like I miss them.

I keep the books I used to write my thesis. Even though it’s been so long I’m not sure I could understand what I wrote about medieval literature and the semiotics of women’s space and subjugation but I see them and hope our daughter will wonder and read them the same way I read my mother’s books from her degree. I loved learning about the history of the theatre and kept myself awake with too much knowledge of abnormal psychology. Maybe our kid will spend some time with this eschatological or gendered religiosity. When she’s gone to college though I’m sure I’ll be letting those books go. It’s hard to let go of books, in each one a world that should be visited or thought that should be thought more than once and I save them waiting for her to take those voyages.

I keep a dress from high school. It almost still fits and will again, which will mean something about how I’m not as old as I really am I guess. I take it out once a year and put it on and remember how wearing it made me beautiful and different, magic found in a second hand store.

I keep one or two items of clothing every year from my daughter. It’s not always the most expensive or the most beautiful, but the most her. The things that when perhaps she gives them to her own daughter there will be a little bit of her and a little bit of me with that baby as she wears them.

I keep her crib. The one that followed us all around Chicago, turned to toddler and then was finally put away in Arkansas. I kept it for the second child we never could have. I can’t let it go. I don’t know if it will even go together anymore. I don’t try and find out.

I keep pictures and songs from my courtship with J, backed up  on on cd after cd and safeguarded over and over again. As if losing any would be losing that time. I keep my wedding dress and remember one of the finest days of my life.

I keep a million things, too many and not enough. I want to keep the moments and so keep a few things that are as much of those moments as a thing can be. I’m learning too, that if I am to keep the moments, I have to keep myself awake and present and aware.  I keep going.

Even when it is too hard, because all those moments mean something.  Because I know what to keep for her and for him.

One Comment

  1. This is so beautiful. I’m just now going through a phase where I want to get rid of things – I know we have too much junk. But things like this I’ll keep forever. I have a box from high school with a collection of random things that I take out every few years and those things, they’re just “stuff” but they take me back. They’re not necessarily good memories, but they’re my memories. I kept my wedding ring from my previous marriage for the same reason. It’s my past. It matters. Great post!

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