A Life in a Box

As I try to declutter my house once again, I think of how much I’ve collected over the years.  They are mementos of my life.  Photographs, handmade cards, baby items, antiques I’ve collected, an array of jewelry, etc.   And then there are the boxes that sit in my closet and basement.  They are filled with mementos of my mother’s life and my mother-in-law’s life. 

My mom didn’t have much to leave behind, but what she had is distributed among her children.  On the other hand, my husband was the only child of his mother who lived in the state where her house was.  When she moved to an assisted living home in another state to be near her daughter, he and I went through all the closets and drawers and saved anything that seemed important.  Then the boxes moved to my house.  My mother-in-law passed away this year and, for now, I am the guardian of her memories.  My mother-in-law had not only kept all of her own things, she also had items that she inherited from her parents, and a few things from her grandparents. 

I suppose as the generations go by, more and more mementos are collected and more and more mementos are treasured.  So, this makes me wonder, what should I leave for my own children one day to be kept in a box in their closet?

With each handoff of the boxes to the next generation, less information goes with it.  Who are the people in those photographs?  Who did this ring belong to and what was the occasion when the person received it?  Is this pearl necklace real?  Items, once so treasured, lose their meaning.  As the generations go on, and the boxes are multiplied, what will the end result be? 

Back to my house . . . I am getting older and don’t know if we will stay in this house forever.  We may move when my husband retires.  What will we take with us?  How will I get these boxes to my sisters-in-law and my brother-in-law?  Could I trust the mail with them?     

I sift through what’s left of my children’s baby clothes, the Christmas ornaments, the toys, the jewelry I never wear and I try to cull through it all.  No matter how much I donate or throw out, there is only one thing that is certain.  Someday, it will all come down to this . . .  my life in a box.   

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