Why do we buy trinkets? Once we are gone will others understand their emotional value? Whose job is it to toss away memories? Why do we hold on to items from our past? How do we remember without needing something tangible? How can others understand us without that tangible item?
Two weekends ago I went to San Diego for a much needed break from life. My sister-in-law had a conference and invited me to share her hotel room and free-time. I had two days alone to explore. What a wonderful treat. I live my life always thinking of others: what will we eat, what will we wear, are things clean, what needs to be done when, do we have the money, when will we go to bed...life as a mom. This trip I was able to just focus on me. I ate what I wanted. I went where I wanted. I thought of no one else. What an amazing experiment. I actually can think of only me!
I spent two days not even once wondering what others would think or how would they react. I went to a Maritime Museum. Very cool. I asked questions I was curious about. I looked at things I wanted to see. I did however miss my family. My son would have LOVED the ships. Especially the HMS Surprise. I went to a mission. I walked around in its peace and serenity. I prayed for my mom, dad and step-dad. I thought about the people who walked there long before me. What wonderful deeds did they do? How kind were they to others? In the past I bet this was a place filled with people who thought not of themselves. I payed silent tribute to them. I felt very welcomed there. I went to Point Loma, the actual point. I saw the lighthouse and statue of Cabrillo, the first person to land on what we know as San Diego. I saw the SS Reagan leaving port, full of our service men (and women?)heading into duty. Sisters, brothers and parents on the clifty shore with me. Lots of pride all around. I also saw whales spouting. It is whale migration time and the rangers and folks around me said the blasts of water we saw were whales. I won't argue. I think they were whales too.
During my time away from my family I kept looking at gift shops. I kept thinking I should take something home for each family member who was important to me. They should know I was thinking of them while I was away. But, would these trinkets mean anything to them? Should I spend the money? Would they like what I bought? Would these items be looked at once and then put into a drawer and forgotten? What about anything I might buy myself? Would anyone know its importance to me in five years? Two months? or even in two days? Why did I feel compelled to buy something? Look at my mom's house. It's a place full of things long forgotten that now my siblings and I get to sift through and pitch. Would the right person happen upon the right item and know, or recall its importance? So many stories.
In the end, I did buy gifts for all. Note cards for my mother-in-law, chocolates for my father-in-law. Hot chocolate mix for my husband, a shirt with the HMS Surprise on it for my son, as well as some unique Lego's, a smashed penny and a key chain. For my daughter: a pen with ships that float from one end to the other in it, a bracelet, Lego's, a smashed penny and a key chain too. Little things. For me, a silver and mother of peril turtle necklace. Lots of photos and a memory stuffed full of sunshine, warmth and new desires.
I want to spend more time in my life enjoying me. It's hard for me being a mom and separating myself from my "job". Others need to see me too, not just me the mom. Going north to help clean out the house allows me to see my mom, step-dad and dad as the people who made up them. Not them as their job-selves. Does that make sense? I think we buy trinkets not only to think of others, but to allow those in our future to be able to decipher who we really were.