As you know, I have been unpacking boxes that have been in storage for over seven years. I have found that items seem to fall into four different categories:
1) Surprise! I forgot all about this!
2) Hello old friend! Happy to see you!
3) A walk down memory lane = instant tears.
4) Now where am I going to put THIS?
I have a terrible memory. I will be the first to admit it. I can't remember things from my childhood. I can't remember things from the other day. But funny how when I opened up a box filled with things from my KIDS' childhood, all the memories came flooding back. And the tears began flowing.
Because not only do these items bring back memories of my children, but also of what my life was like at that moment.
Here is my son, Jason's christening gown.
I don't know if I spoke of my son's health before, but he was very sick as an infant. Unbeknownst to me and his father. We were young (early 20's). Jason was 3 weeks early. He never "dropped" into the birth canal. He was in fetal distress and was finally taken cesarean. At one month it was discovered that he was in congestive heart failure; his heart was very large, and he was hospitalized for a few days for some tests. Bottom line: he had a very large hole in his heart, and with the size and location, the doctors felt that he would need open heart surgery when he was around 2 years of age. In the meantime, he was put on digitalis, a heart medication to slow down and strengthen each heartbeat. Jason was very small for his age, and although he met every milestone, he was on the tail end of the timeline.
I had Jason baptized when he was 5 weeks old (we are Catholic), and my mother insisted that I tell the priest about Jason's health. I did what my mother asked and the priest said, "May I?" He took Jason from my arms, walked over to the statue of the Blessed Virgin, held Jason high into the air and said a silent prayer. Then he brought Jason back to me and said, "This child will NEVER require open heart surgery. I prayed to the Virgin Mary, and she ALWAYS answers my prayers."
I was amazed how strong this priest's faith was. And do you know that Jason NEVER had to have open heart surgery? When he was two years old and had a check-up, the cardiologist was shocked by the results. The hole had almost completely closed. Now, it's true the holes in the heart DO close, but it was unusual for Jason's to close due to the size and location. The doctors all admitted that it was truly a miracle.
This is the dress that Jessica wore to my second wedding. She was 2 1/2 years old. The plan was that she and Jason, who was 4 1/2, were going to walk down the aisle first, then Jim and I would follow. But Jessica had a cramp in her leg and wanted her Daddy to carry her. So all four of us walked down together. (The kids were from my first marriage - Jim adopted them 2 months after we were married.)
This little dog with its puppy belongs to Jessica. If you pull the puppy dog, it winds up a music box and plays "How much is that doggy in the window?" I remember pulling that cord many of times.
Although Jessica doesn't remember this one, he must have been a beloved pet, for his ear is missing.
I have many more items, but I won't bore you with them. But I can't leave this one out.
A much-loved, slightly squished Grover.
Another time Jason had to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. He began hemorrhaging after the surgery and the doctors had to go back and pack Jason's nose. Of course Grover was at the hospital with him. When Jason came out of recovery with a big bandage on his nose, so did Grover! It made Jason smile and made it a little easier so spend the night in the hospital.
So these items don't just bring back memories of when my kids were little, they bring back a time that was a mix of joy because of the birth of my children, scariness - because of Jason's health problems, but most of all I am in awe of the strength I had because I went through all of that during a very messy divorce. I was very lucky to have Jim come into my life (my knight in shining armor!). He accepted me AND my kids, in good times and bad, sickness and in health, till death do us part.