Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gratitude, Day 7

So, yesterday I was home again with my kids, since we had to give them time for antibiotics to work before they could go back to the babysitter and daycare. One of Kelli’s challenges was to organize drawers and closets before the holidays. I decided that my closets could definitely use some sprucing up.

Now, you have to understand something. I am not a neat-freak. I have tried to fit into my husband’s view of having a clean house, and I can keep the house in a clean-ish state that will not completely drive him nuts. My two places of solitude where I can be slovenly are at work (my desk is usually trashed, but I never lose anything!) and my closets. Shane’s closet is perfectly organized: shoes are matched and lined up; hangers are a finger’s width away from each other; all work shirts, t-shirts, pants, long sleeve shirts, and any other designation of clothes are each hung in their allotted spots; and the top of his closet has perfectly folded clothing in piles according to type. My closet is a disaster, and it doesn’t bother me a bit. As long as the stuff isn’t falling out onto the floor in front of the closet, I am fine with it. At this point, you can pretty much conclude that this approach of closet-organization exists in the rest of the closets in my house. Shane cringes when he opens them, but is generally a good sport.

So, yersterday I decided to give him some warm fuzzies by going through the hall closet, which houses sheets, picture books, cameras, sewing implements, gift bags, a laundry basket, and other junk. I threw out tons of old shopping bags, because why do I really need them, right? I made room on one shelf to put the cameras so that they no longer perch precariously on the edge of another shelf. It was so nice to get rid of some of that stuff.

(So now I’m getting to the point of my post, hold on!) In the midst of my purging, I found a few items that I had forgotten about or just never dealt with before. One plain box on a random shelf housed all the cards that had been given to Shane and me when we were married. I read each one, thinking about how some of those whose words I was reading had passed away or had fallen out of our lives in the nine years since they were written. I kept all of the insides of the cards, the parts that people we love (or loved then) had written to us, and put them in page protectors.

I found a card from Shane that he had written to me the night before we were married. I had forgotten how he had insisted after our reception that we stop at our apartment for something before going to the hotel where we would spend the night. Inside the fridge were the card and a bouquet of roses, bought with the intention of giving to his new wife on the first night of our lives together.

I found two packets full of pictures that I had completely forgotten about. These were a true find. When I first met Shane, I lived in a little dive apartment on 700 south in Salt Lake City. I initially lived there with roommates who I didn’t know, but eventually I grew to love them. I also had one friend or another live there for short spans of time. I did a ton of growing up in that apartment, and I have nothing to show for it but memories. But yesterday, I found a picture of me in the room I occupied there. To see my young self and the way my life looked then was such a treasure. A few pictures later I saw myself at my last Grateful Dead concert in 1995 with two friends I still love but don’t have in my life anymore. A few more pictures and I saw me performing with the Ririe-Woodbury summer dance workshop the summer I got together with Shane.

There I was, sitting in my thirty-something body, in my suburban house with my two children playing with play dough, bulging sacks of junk all around me, and all of a sudden I was remembering the girl that I used to be. I remembered all my transformations, and the decisions that made those transformations happen. I felt both a distance and an infinite closeness to her, and wondered what she would think if she knew how it all turned out.

Today I am grateful for memories. I am grateful that a box of old cards and pictures can bring back my younger self so vividly that I can almost feel her sitting on my shoulder. I am grateful for all the pictures of my babies, and that I don’t have to rely on memory alone to remember who they were when they were young. I am grateful for days when I can unearth these treasures and have time to roll around in the feelings they invoke. I am grateful for the person that I am, and was, and one day will be.

And I am grateful for clean closets, of which there are now 2 in my house.

5 comments:

Melanie said...

Hey, I cleaned out my side of our bedroom closet yesterday! It's the best feeling when I open it and can see all of my clothes and shoes without digging for anything!

I love those days when you can get lost in old memories. I'd love to see some of those pitures!

Jeff and Kayci Bitton said...

Good for you on cleaning your closets! I had to laugh at how different you and shane are in that clean closet aspect because Jeff and I are the just like you guys! (Only I am the organized one.) I love going back through old pictures and am grateful for memories too! Good post! I told my mom about your page and I think she read it. She told me thanks for telling her so I assume she read it? Anyway, you are great! Love ya!

Kasandra said...

Beautiful post Becky.... bittersweet for me, you and your husband seem to be doing so well. LOve the roses in the fridge, my daughter has been married for a little over a year and is really struggling.....and I want her to just give up and look for someone who will help her to be happier, but can't tell her that as long as she is trying. I don't want her to look back at pictures and remember being happy but never being happy in the present! So thank you.... Kasandra

Kelli said...

What a beautiful post, Becky! I enjoyed hearing about your memories and how you found special treasures while cleaning out the closet!
Thank you for joining in this week!
Kelli

Amy Sorensen said...

I think that bumping-into-your-old-self experience is one of life's most bittersweet. I wonder often what my old self would think of me. (I think she'd be horrified!!!)