Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Child’s Special Gift – Part 2

Fragile Heart II by Jessica (PrettyFreakJasper)
[Read Part 1 here]
There’s a fine line between pack rat and collector. Or is there? I’ll be the first to admit that on the Pact Rat – Collector scale I’m pushing into the “rat” region. I’ve gotten better though through the years, mostly out of necessity. After my sister passed away in 2005, and then my father in 2006, my life became a whirlwind of ups and downs, and as a result, circumstances forced me to move around more than I would have liked to. When it was time to pack up and go, I had to decide what was really important to me.

When you have limited space and limited funds, as it was, this is especially true. Things that were once filed under the “this might come in handy someday,” and “I’ll do something with this eventually” quickly became expendable items. I imagine that is the case with most people. Packing up and moving helps weed out the unnecessary crap that we collect over the years that fogs our vision and clogs our souls.

Photo albums and loose pictures always make the top of the list of things that don’t get left behind. Pictures are time capsules of memories that cannot be replaced. Pictures help us remember special moments in our lives. They remind us how to cry and how to laugh. They remind us of loved ones long gone. They remind us of our journey through life, and why we must make the best of it while we still have time. No, pictures never get left behind; unless they remind us of something we want to forget.

Gifts my daughters, Amanda and Aletha, made me also never get left behind. Amanda was barely 3 years old, and AIetha was still in diapers when their mother and I divorced and parted ways. Then a few years later, their mother picked them up and moved them more than 1,200 miles away. When you are unable to see your children for days and weeks because of camp or school activities, it can be difficult. When you’re forced to go without feeling your child’s warm embrace, or hearing their laughter fill a room, or seeing the bright smile on their little round face - for a year – it can be unbearable. Those were unbearable months for me.

Distance, and my ex-wife’s unwillingness to mail me things my children made for me, left me with precious few treasures to keep through the years. I have one Birthday card that she had the girls send me when we first separated. No Father’s Day cards or Christmas cards. No letters or things they made at school. The rest of my keepsakes consist of a handful of drawings and paintings my girls made me in the summers they visited.

They are simple things when you think it about it – the little things that my children made me. They hold no value, yet they are priceless. They are old and fragile, yet they are everlasting objects made with pure love.  From a critical artistic point of view, they are not very well done. Yet to me, they are beautiful works of art worthy of a place in the Louvre. If they were to crumble away or get tossed into Friday’s trash pick-up, no one would care but me.

Like pictures, the things our children make for us are treasures that cannot be replaced. They are timestamps of memories impressed upon our mortal conscience. They remind us of the simple joys in life. They remind us of the innocence that we once possessed. They remind us that we created life, and with that, to do what we can to help them live long happy lives. But most of all, they remind us of the things that are most important to us – our children - and of a love that lasts forever.

Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination

What are some of the gifts your child has bought or made for you? Do you still have them? Do you remember anything you made for your parents when you were a child? Share them. I want to read about them.

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