Motherhood, Parenthood, Parenting

Boxes of Memories

I’ve come across all sorts of things in the process of our moving and packing.  Some I’d remembered and some were pleasant (and funny) surprises.

Like my sister’s piggy bank.

Don’t worry, Val – I’m keeping it safe for you.  And I know that it’s yours because it’s got your name written on the bottom.  How it ended up with me in New Zealand is a mystery.  Can pigs fly?

Or like this decorated brown paper lunch bag filled with Valentine’s from my senior high school Spanish class.  Why on earth did I keep those?

I’ll bet no one in that class ever thought that their Valentine would eventually wind up in a rubbish bin in New Zealand.

Amongst all of these things, I came across a box full of old home movies (transferred to DVD by my older brother) and 2 VHS tapes – 1 of Chris’ high school graduation where he gave the valedictorian speech and the other of a class project that he made with friends depicting various scenes from “The Great Gatsby”.  I need to get those onto a DVD STAT!

The home videos were the real gold mine.  I decided to watch part of one of the DVDs on our last evening with the TV all set up.  It was fun to see my 23 years’ younger self (did I ever brush my hair?) and my siblings.  Kent and Lance were just a twinkle in my dad’s eye.

But the thing that struck me the most was when my mom took a moment to walk around the house and show how messy it was.  And it was messy.  Not dirty, but what you’d expect a house to look like when there are young children about.  There was food on the table and on the floors underneath.  Toys were strewn all over the floor in one room.  The laundry was sitting in a heap, some folded and some not, on the kitchen counter.  The dishes were not all washed.  Dinner had not been started.

I never would have noticed those things.  Nope.  In fact, whenever I recall my childhood and growing up, I always think about how neat our house was.  Friends would come over and tell me that they couldn’t believe that 10 children lived there.  But the reality is that sometimes, it was messy.

I struggle with keeping the house clean and picked up, especially now in the midst of a move when I’m not feeling well and Joe has a cold.  I often, without even realizing that I’m doing it, compare my home to the childhood home that exist in my memories, and I feel like I’m not making the grade.  We’ve got food on the floor here, dishes in the sink, and laundry hanging to dry.

But oh, how the the past gets gilded to a lovely golden hue!  All of those things like messes and laundry have been forgotten about (at least by me, though I’ll never forget my mom’s creative punishment for 2 of my brothers who refused to pick up their rooms – she evicted them and they had to sleep in the hallway!).  It was nice to see that I grew up in a house with a mess and laundry and dishes needing to be washed, because that’s exactly the kind of home that Joe has.  I hope that he, like me, forgets about those things and remembers the important stuff.

It’s also a good reminder that I need to show that our house isn’t always neat, especially when it comes to videos and photos.  I’m not talking about for your sake, you lovely readers.  I’m talking about for Joe’s sake!  I hope that someday he can look back and any unrealistic ideas about how neat his home should be when small children are about get brought back to reality (if he’s forgotten) and that he realizes that the most important thing isn’t  keeping a house clean, but keeping it full of love 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Boxes of Memories

  1. Oh Jenny I love this! And I had no idea you had so many siblings. That should be a post in itself 🙂 I’m just now getting photos from my Mom scanned of my childhood and VHS tapes will be next!

    Isn’t it the treasures like those that make us smile the most. I was boy crazy and found an old diary of what went on in that head of mine at 12!

  2. Gimme my piggy bank back! I notice that it’s conspicuously empty now, too! 😉

    It’s funny that you wrote about our messy house. I was talking with Gramma over the weekend & she mentioned a time when she visited our house years ago with her friend, Jen (do you remember Jen? She had dark hair and lived in a duplex down the street from Gramma…). She said that after the visit, Jen said that she was surprised b/c it didn’t look like 10 children lived in that house! I totally agree with you… I don’t remember the mess at all.

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