My life is littered with mementos. My children are constantly giving me things – things to keep, things to hold for them, things to throw away. I sometimes think that one of my titles should be Keeper of Things. Every coat pocket is overflowing with the detritus of parenthood. I have empty snack pouches, discarded napkins, small toys and a dime someone else found and gave to me for safekeeping. I have pine cones, rocks, seashells and leaves. Are these things treasures or trash? Only a child could tell you for sure.
Sometimes I’m frustrated to be the Keeper of Things. Sometimes I think back on the days when my pockets contained only my things, things that I wanted them to contain. But then, at other times, I feel grateful for the fullness. My life is full to overflowing, and that’s not such a very bad thing. It’s even better when I reach my hand into my pocket for my keys and find something extra special as well. It’s like a little hit of joy in my day.
My Mother’s Day “jewel”
This past Friday I was speaking at Northern Voice, a blogging and social media conference here in Vancouver. Just before I got on the stage I reached into my pocket to be sure my phone was set to vibrate and I found a small blue piece of glass. It was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter that somehow ended up in my blazer pocket. It was meant to be a sort of good luck charm. As I got myself together to address a room full of people it felt serendipitous, a sparkling reminder that some of the things my children give me are the most sincere of gifts.
I don’t only find mementos of motherhood in my pockets. They fill my whole life. There are toys on the floor, drawings on the wall, and discarded socks everywhere. There are plates of half-finished food and spelling tests that say things like 9/10 – Good Try! And there are drawings, vases filled with buttercups and handmade cards for special occasions or just because. Is it tidy? No, not even a little. Is it still fabulous? Totally.
I recently found this string of paper dolls pegged to my bedside lamp
There’s no way I’m going to forget that I’m a parent. It informs every part of my life. And even if I’m alone, doing something that has nothing to do with my children, I’m always coming across little mementos. In my pockets, on my floor, in the cupholders in my car, in my purse, in the front yard, I find little reminders that are always with me. Reminders that when my children need someone to hold something, there’s no one else in the world they trust more than me. It’s equal parts maddening and amazing – kind of like everything in parenting, if you think about it. To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have it any other way, even if it’s hard to keep my sense of perspective about it sometimes.
Do your kids consider you the Keeper of Things? What is that like for you? I’d love to hear your stories about the mementos of parenthood that fill your life.