This week, my parents and sister and I decided to clean out our shed. Oh boy, the treasures we found. Alongside the tons and tons of books left by my grandma and great aunts and great grandparents and who knows who else, we found all sorts of true gems.
For one, we found a newspaper article that announced the moon landing. Needless to say, that's going to be framed. Kaity and I got into our oldest sister, Sarah's, Polly Pockets, which have been tabooed to us for as long as we can remember (something about little siblings ruining everything). That was a good time.
We found all sorts of old dolls and accessories, including a play kitchen that we used to play with at our Grandma Helen's house.
I found old stuffed animals that I used to have trouble sleeping without, each with an ever changing name and completely near and dear to my heart.
I found hundreds of cards from sweet aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins and old friends.
I found my first journals, started in 2006, and was proud to realize that I've kept up with it for 10 years.
This week, we all discovered the joy of looking at childhood treasures, which allowed us to remember what we didn't mean to forget. We experienced sweet memories of our dear Grandma, who I still miss every day.
My dad was able to tell us stories from his childhood, memories of the Grandpa we never knew, old dogs and teachers and school awards.
My mom relived the early days of her marriage, her engagement to my dad, before there were six little rugrats who demanded her time.
There is a point to this reminiscing. When my dad urged all of us to keep all that stuff which seemed meaningless at the time, we didn't understand the point. It's just junk, just an object. No longer is this true. I found that every object holds a memory, a smell that takes you back, an idea, a revelation.
When you begin to go through all this old stuff, you find that it isn't really just old stuff. It's a representative of a much easier time, before student loans and jobs and wedding planning and understanding that the world is not as easy and beautiful as I thought it was.
Of course, it isn't all filled with memories. Everybody has those random books they never read, or puzzles that are missing more than half of the pieces. Some of it is junk, which is when it becomes borderline hoarding.
I was blessed with a happy childhood, completely oblivious to the frustrations and stress of my parents, as well as the increasingly scary things in this world. This week, I remembered the little girl that had weird quirks, who got a kick out of digging random holes in the yard and hammering nails into scraps of wood. I remembered that it's okay to sit down and remember and even play a little bit, if only to relive a memory.