Memory Keeper

My sister says I save too much “stuff”. My husband would probably agree, and once, long ago suggested I get rid of a few shelves of old books to make room for new ones. That did not go over well. I explained that each book on my many bookshelves had a certain significance and just because I’d read them three times, did not mean I wouldn’t read them again! But it wasn’t just about the content. Some books were given as gifts, signed with a heartfelt note. How could I get rid of them?? My husband never asked that question again. Instead, he built me more bookcases!

But, I’m not talking about saving books. I’m talking about the intangible collections that I call memory keeping. What sorts of things do I save? Cards and letters, art projects from when the kids were in grade school, my previous dog’s collar…painted necklaces made from potatoes and macaroni…

Two weeks ago, I was cleaning out an old briefcase—yes, that was definitely from another life—when I came across the card on the left. It was from my middle daughter. She was so young! I thought of those times and how she’d grown from a wide-eyed, curious young girl to a strong, determined woman. Overwhelmed with emotion, I sent her the picture in a text message. I didn’t hear back until the next day, with a response that said merely, “LOL”. Obviously, she is not yet a mother and doesn’t understand how a child pulls at a parent’s heartstrings.

I donated the briefcase and stuck the note in a drawer for safekeeping. When my middle daughter is home at Christmas, I’ll pull out the card, look into her eyes, and tell her how much I love her. She’ll smile and hug me. Then she’ll say, “Love you, too.”

And that will be a memory keeper.

Four days after I sent her a copy of the Mother’s Day note, she sent me her own text message. It was a picture of her rescue dog and her hand—with an engagement ring! Maybe one day, she’ll become a memory keeper, too.

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