The first time I ever had to pack to move was late summer 2004.
Since then I have moved countless times. I have moved from house to house, to Hanna Boys Center, to my Beautiful California University. Since I have been here, I’ve lived mostly in ResHalls, so I move in during late August and out in late May. During the summer I have been all over the place until moving into my residence for the next school year.
And now I am preparing for the largest move of my life. It is simultaneously invigorating, exciting, scary and nerve-wracking. For so long I have been able to keeo so much stuff – heirlooms from my mother, random this and that, letters from friends, books, and clothes.
Much of what I do not regularly use has been stored in the basement at my friend/roommates house. This past week I began my Spring Break tradition – the start of packing for next year. I hope that it is a tradition I do not have to repeat until I am about to finish grad school.
As I have been going through old stuff, I have come across a number of things.
I found some of my mothers later journals. I flipped through them for awhile, and realized something. People are people. We all have struggles and battles we constantly fight. We are all constantly scared of something. We all want something. I always saw my mother as strong and providing. I never realized that what I saw as incredible and amazing – what I saw as a Christmas miracle , or an amazing dinner – was what she saw as a failure, or not living up to her desires. I never realized that when we had an argument it stuck with her for days, even after I had been forgiven or after we had moved on. In her journals I see her honesty. Her pain. Her fear. And that is incredible. I’ve understood for a long time that my mother wasn’t just who I saw her as – that there was more. It does not “taint” my image of her. But I think it gives me more chance to reflect on who I want to be. I know many of the mistakes that she made. Hopefully I can avoid making the same mistakes.
For years, I’ve been keeping a number of the writing projects that she started. I have hoped that someday I would be able to finish them. A couple of them were barely in their beginning phases. I was flipping through binders on world-building, on concepts, on ideas. I realized that while someday I can publish her completed novel, it is unrealistic for me to think I’ll be able to complete her barely started works. Nor would she want me to. Her ideas were her ideas. She would want me to come up with my on ideas. I said a quick “I’m sorry mom, I can’t do this,” and dumped the contents of all four of the binders into the recycling bin.
And I found old letters from friends. Stuffed in the corners of high school year books. Found in piles from when I moved to Hanna. Stacks of mail from when I started at my Beautiful California University. So much has happened in the last few years. Letters are something I think are incredibly important to keep. It’s a chronology of life. of what has happened. Someday, if I become a famous writer, I hope people publish a collection of my letters. I think they’re fun to read. C.S. Lewis has a collection. Mark Twain has a collection. People write autobiographies. I mean. It makes sense. I think.
Reading these old letters has taken me down memory lane. I remember graduating high school and feeling like I was on top of the world. Great things had happened, and it could only get better. It simultaneously seems like so long ago and so recent. In just 33 days – barely over a month – I will be walking across Commencement Lawn and receiving a holder for my Bachelors Degree. The world, and my life, has changed so much.
I’m still excited about the future. I’m excited about moving to Oklahoma.
I just need to go through the last of my stuff.