My three daughters and I were fortunate to spend last week in NJ at my parents’ house – the same one I lived in till I went to college. I say fortunate, because it was a real blessing to have all of our home school classes AND preschool off at the same time! You might think that as a home schooling family, we can just take off when we want to and run amok all day long. But we really do have weekly commitments like swim team, youth group, co-op classes, writing classes and preschool for my 4 year old. So going to see Grammy and Grandpa for lengthier stays is a treat that we try to take advantage of when we can.
My parents are always finding ways to help us when they come to visit – whether it be taking care of the girls, helping with school work, folding laundry, making dinner, washing dishes, filling birdfeeders or putting gas in the car (really I think part of the reason my dad likes to do that is so that he has an excuse to track down the cheapest gas price in all of Manassas and so my mom can remind me that NJ has cheaper gas prices AND they pump it for you – remind me why I ever left?).
So when I go home I like to try and help my parents if I can. This time I asked if we could sort through some boxes of “memorabilia” that have been in their attic for several years. Sorting through your own papers and piles can be an overwhelming task (come look at my desk), but it was fun for me – #1 it’s always easier to clean out someone else’s stuff and #2 because a lot of it was mine from years gone by.
You see, when two teachers, married 45 years, have lived in the same house for 40 of those years, are very involved with church and Bible study (read lots of lesson plans, meeting minutes, prayer letters, etc.), have three children who have each left behind 20+ years of spelling and algebra papers, scads of book reports and mobiles, hundreds of art projects that were all deemed worthy of saving, pictures galore, every note they ever passed in church that needed to be saved for
blackmail posterity sake, too many postcards and letters to count and well, you get the idea – it’s a recyclers dream come true.
My older daughters helped me bring out several boxes to get started on. If my parents wanted their office back in usable shape, we HAD to go through the boxes because they weren’t going back in the attic!
I had a blast walking down memory lane reading notes that my grandma had typed us on her old fashioned typewriter – you know the kind that if she pushed the keys too hard the period would make a hole in the page. There were journal entries my brother had written in 1985 where almost every single one talked about the weather and how the Cowboys or Yankees did that week depending on the season. Even the envelope with papers and the arm band from when my brother was born in 1974. Newspapers with my parents engagement info that crumbled when removed from the box, pocket Bibles, postcards from camp and trips gone by, a Rubik’s cube keychain, Girl Scout badges, Sunday School papers, calendar pages and menu plans. Oh the memories and laughs we shared! My parents really did appreciate my “loving” encouragement and downright nagging to motivate them to declutter. Now it’s their turn to come nag me to declutter my house.
You may be wondering why I am giving you a laundry list of what was in my parents’ attic. Hang tight – there is a point.
Too often I get wrapped up in the day to day busyness of life and home schooling and don’t stop to think about the memories that we are making along the way. I am blessed with a rich Christian heritage that my parents, through God’s grace, have given my siblings and me that I want to impress on my own daughters and leave them with a similar legacy.
All of those “treasures” that the five of us saved over many years were remembrances of fun times (post cards from my first time at camp), happy times (Christmas lists with the Sears Wish Book product #’s next to each item), sad times (funeral cards of my grandparents) and bad times (let’s go with Algebra I on this one). But it all adds up to the story of our lives.
I realize that not everyone was raised in a Christian home or had a happy childhood, but we all use where we have come from and who we are in Christ to share and relate our faith and God’s grace with others.
It served as a good reminder to me to cherish the time I have with my girls and not just do the next thing in a hurried rush all day long. My mom came across a sign she had in her classroom years ago that serves as a great reminder. “Childhood Should Be…A Journey Not a Race.” Whether you have children or are a child of the King, LIFE really is a journey, not a race.
The Lord has given us more treasures than we can ever imagine and I pray that we not only hide them in our hearts but also pass them onto others for them to savor and enjoy and remember.