Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Junk Drawers and Memory Boxes

It's January. Time to clean out the junk drawer. You know what I mean.  It's that drawer in every house no matter how big or small where we throw all the things we accumulate during the year that we don't know what to do with or are too busy to put in its rightful place. Some of us have several junk drawers scattered throughout the house.  We manage to get that close to actually putting something where it belongs and then get distracted and into the junk drawer it goes.

Today I tackled the junk drawer in the den.  I took a deep breath and opened the drawer to really look at all the stuff I had thrown in there over the past year.  To help with organization, I sat down to sort through the mess with a trash can and a box to put those things in that I just couldn't bear to part with - a memory box.

I tackled the easy things first:  an airline ticket stub, a half eaten candy bar, a Christmas card with a misspelled name, a broken paper clip, scraps of messages long since delivered or forgotten.  These things went right to the trash can without a second thought.

Next came the greeting cards with simple "I love you" messages scrawled in childish hand from my grandchildren.  There was a silly love note from my husband that made me smile. A candid shot of family members at the beach, and another snapshot of a trip to Alaska caused me to stop and smile in remembrance of a happy time or a shared smile.  These things had no real value except for the pleasant memory they evoked. They went into the memory box.

I saved the hard part for last.  There was a small box filled with trinkets that reminded me of my mother, worthless artifacts of a life no more except that my mother had treasured them.  As I touched each one, I felt as if I were touching her.  There were newspaper clippings and other remembrances of friends and relatives who had passed. These would have to go in a special place.

I spent about an hour cleaning out a drawer that should have taken much less time, but each item there caused me to reflect on the past year. There had been happy times and bittersweet times mixed with a few sad times.  But we had survived and thrived as a family. I looked down at the empty drawer.  This time next year, the drawer would be full again and I would clean it out, throwing away the trash and keeping the memories.  

Time to get started.