I have been helping Sarah this afternoon go through the treasures in her room and decide what to leave out, what to take to college, what to throw away(the smallest pile) and what to put away in a box for safe keeping.
“This bracelet came from Annie. I got this necklace from you for my confirmation. These are the beads I brought back from New Orleans. Those are the books Dad read to me when I was little…”
And as she began to pack her boxes, I was taken back to a time in my own life, when I sat on the floor of my childhood bedroom, and did the same thing- packed away treasures for another day. Over the years, the box of treasures has been explored and a few trinkets have been added, yet as time goes on, more things are taken out of the box because they no longer hold the same memories for me.
It is the ritual of leaving home, of going on a journey that many people face at this time of year. Whether someone is headed to college, or on to their first apartment, there is a cleaning out and holding on process that takes place. At any stage of our journey, we have to make sure we have the necessities, and we also have to make sure there is something that holds a piece of our childhood that we want to take with us. We cannot leave home without physical reminders of how much we are loved.
As I was telling Sarah that it was time to at least release a few stuffed animals, that they can’t possibly all need to go into storage, she looked at me and said, “Do you really want me to grow out of all the things that remind me to play?”
As she hugged Rosie, her worn stuffed dog that has yet another story wrapped up in her keeping, I thought about how many childhood things I no longer re-visit, and realized I have forgotten to play.
My friend Sue posted on Facebook this week a picture of a blanket fort, and she asked if anyone was interested in playing. I replied that dress up clothes are a necessity, and please make sure there are plenty of coloring books.
No, Sarah, I don’t ever want you to grow up and forget about the moments of complete joy when you let yourself live in the world of imagination, when all it takes to be happy is a small tea set, some stuffed animals in chairs, and a good book to read to your guests.
So while you get ready to go off on your new adventure, I think I will pick up my crayons, and color a picture. I don’t want to forget what it feels like to to be care- free and to live in joy. And don’t be surprised when you come home from work and find your stuffed dog Rosie sitting in my arms. I am filling her up with love for her long journey ahead! And weeks from now, when are missing home and you give Rosie a hug, I hope you can feel the love of home, and let laughter and joy touch your heart.