I sat at the kitchen island last night and had an emotional party by myself. I have been sorting and packing and weeding years of living, and when I brought a green plastic tub downstairs with a polka-dotted shower curtain on top, I had no idea what I would find underneath.
It was a green tub filled with Mom.
A framed Garfield cross-stitch that I spent long hours on and gifted to her many years ago – it hung in her kitchen for so long.
Her wood calendar that will hang in my new home somewhere.
Two cassette tapes, priceless in my eyes, of piano music and two little girls singing sweet little songs.
A large manila envelope stuffed full, with my name on it.
File folders labeled “Katrina and Zak” and “Karissa and Mandrae.”
A file folder labeled, “Corn Bible Academy.”
Inside these folders and my envelope? Years of cards and letters that the girls and I sent to Mom and Dad for which she saved them all. Little valentines in tiny envelopes with “Grandma” and “Grandpa” written on the outside. Mother’s Day cards, birthday cards, handwritten letters I sent when I was a brand new mom and missing my own. I didn’t remember ever writing these letters, but floods of memories came pouring out of the folders and that envelope. She saved programs from my first attempts at directing children’s musicals at the Baptist Church in Eagle Pass, programs from my music teaching days in San Antonio all the way through Elyria and Central Christian and finally, Corn Bible Academy. She clipped every newspaper clipping IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD according to her granddaughters and our schools. She saved graduation announcements, baby shower invitations, wedding announcements and programs from the girls, even a simple post-it note from Katrina.
And inside my envelope was a Christmas card addressed to me at the beginning of my new life alone, sealed and never sent. It included her love and her well-wishes for “the best things to come.”
Oh, Mom. They did. They did, wrapped up in a man who loves me and respects me and pushes me to independence. They did, wrapped up in 10 beautiful grandchildren, five of whom you never got to meet. They did, wrapped up in some years spent getting to know my Daddy like I had not known previously. They did, wrapped up in a wonderful church, a wonderful job, a home in small town USA that you would enjoy, I just know…
I am grateful that my Mom was a saver.
And I am grateful that I am a cry-er.
But I’m also grateful that I am not a hoarder. It’s good to reminisce, but it’s good to let it go, too.