Monday, July 23, 2007

Packing on the Inside

Written by The Good Woman from My Wee Scottish Blog

I've been packing. Sorting our things into neat piles – keep, recycle, discard. Different boxes with different destinations. And I've been thinking, wouldn't it be good if we could do this with our memories too.

I'd keep Bambi's milestones in a special box marked 'fragile', because already I find myself struggling to remember how sweet she looked with just two teeth protruding from her bottom gum, the exact pronunciation of her first words, the soaring pride of her first steps.

I'd hang onto every moment of affection, love and kindness shared with family and friends. I will need this box often in the first months in a new place. And I would build it of rubber, with the hope that it will expand over the months and years that follow.

I'd definitely keep all the laughter. This box should under no circumstances be soundproof – the hoots, guffaws, giggles and chortles should be readily available at all times.

In a transparent box in the corner will be the memories of the difficult times. I'm tempted to throw this box away but the lessons it contains were costly and more valuable for it. So I'll keep them safe for reference later, but neatly compartmentalised and observed from afar. Insurance on this box will be expensive.

I'd recycle all the practical stuff. The 'how to's' of moving house, settling in and making a home away from home. This box would be big and sturdy, full of frequently thumbed manuals. It would contain the things I know to be true. This box would go somewhere prominent, for others to refer to as required. There is no reason for anyone else to have to learn these things the hard way – I will share them freely on request.

I think I should also recycle my mistakes and failings. It's a hard box to pack but I've learnt what I can from its contents – maybe someone else can use these memories without having to repeat them. And that would bring me great comfort.

What memories will I discard? Should I throw away the days I felt depressed, the moments of anger and frustration? Should I bottle the tears I have shed and pour them away for ever? Or should I put them in a corner to fade, only thought of during spring cleaning – or when I can be bothered to visit the attic?

Sadly, we cannot choose the memories we discard. Usually, it's the in between days that fade away completely – the filler between times of true happiness and complete despair. Sometimes its the extremes – the intensity of labour pain, the anxiety of loss. If we're lucky, the moments of intense joy remain. And if we're really lucky we live in anticipation of many more to come – a replenishing supply of happiness.

So I'll discard as little as possible and hope it all comes along for the ride. When it comes to memories, it's best not to travel too light.

The Good Woman is a South African expat currently preparing to move from Scotland to Kenya. Visit her at her soon-to-be-renamed Wee Scottish Blog.


The Farmers Wife said...

This is such a beautiful post in so many ways.

Beautifully written (you have such a poetic turn of phrase) and a beautiful idea.

I love the idea of building it out of rubber so that it will expand over the years to come.

Annie said...

Great, creative post.

Good luck on your journeys ahead.

Iota said...

Yes, this is beautifully written and a powerful idea. Wistful and hopeful at the same time.

Maude Lynn said...

Gorgeous. I love this!

Roberta said...

How wonderful this thing called Karma.

This weekend, husband cleared out the basement. He found pictures in a box that I hadn't looked at in 16 years. Loved ones gone to heaven. Our trips with our sons.

It moved me so that I wanted to write about it, but couldn't. Too personal and private were my feelings.

Thank you for saying everything I wanted to say.

debio said...

Simply lovely. Quite, quite lovely.

I do hope the move goes well for you.

The Good Woman said...

Thank you all for your kind words. Sadly the wistful phase of packing has now been drowned under a a more urgent frenzy. But all is on track. So that's good. isn't it?

Jen E said...

Just beautiful!

自拍a片直播網 said...


Featured Post and Blog of the Week

You Are Here

by Amie from

You did well in school to get into college. You tried to get by well enough in college to be attractive to an employer or graduate program, and along the way you may have opened your heart a time or two. Maybe you even found true love.

With a foot in the door, the first years of work were the time to
prove your mettle once again. Promotions, raises all with the goal to secure your future will allow you to settle down, buy a house, travel, commit to a relationship, have kids or not. In what feels like a blink of an eye, your future is here.

And now what?

Read the full post...

Chance Favors Only Those Who Court Her

by Debbie from Missives from Suburbia

After a less-than-friendly divorce, I was on the market again. Seizing the opportunity, my friends scoured their address books and Palm Pilots for single men and set me up on blind date after blind date. My reaction to most of those dates was, "I call these people my FRIENDS?" One of my real friends suggested, and given how much I love the Internet, I gave it a go.

A couple months of e-dating passed by in a blink. It was fun, but so far nothing meaningful had hit my radar, and my match inventory was starting to run low. You see, "matches" you to people based on a list of your requirements, and I'd pretty much run through all my existing matches who didn't seem psycho or stoned, based on their profiles.

Then, one day, I got an email from a guy who was not a match by my standards...

Read the full post...

A Lost Opportunity

by John from Altjiranga Mitjina

Trying to break in as a writer in the comic book industry can be a bit like the one legged man in a butt kicking contest. Every step forward you make means you land on your butt after your kick forward. Comic books are a visual medium. An artist can bring a portfolio to an editor at a convention and said editor can sit there and look at it within minutes and decide if this artist is worthy of working on the newest issue of Stupendous Man or not. Trying being a hopeful writer handing over a script to this same editor at a busy comic convention. You’ll be lucky if the editor agrees to take the script and promise that they’ll look at it later. Most times the hopeful writer is told to send for their submission guidelines and mail in their proposal.

The best way for a writer is to find an aspiring artist and hook up...

Read the full post...

Jesus Toothpaste!

by Karen Rayne from Adolescent Sexuality Today with Karen Rayne, Ph.D.

This weekend I went out of town, leaving my family to fend for themselves. On Saturday, my darling husband took my two darling daughters – 6 and 3 years old – to what he heard was a fun new toy store in town. Great, right?

They walk in the door, and the 6-year-old pipes up with “Look, Daddy! Jesus toothpaste!” He takes one look, puts one hand on each girl’s shoulder, and does a 180 out of the store. It may be a fun new toy store, but it’s intended clientele does not include the under-13 set.

When I got home on Sunday, the first thing the 6-year-old says to me was, “Guess what! We saw Jesus toothpaste!” I blinked, figuring I hadn’t heard her correctly. Regrettably, I had...

Read the full post...

A biker, a green thumb, a cracked hand, and a Queen.

by Megan from Velveteen Mind, originally guest posted at Queen of Spain

A random biker on a Harley-Davidson took my picture last week. What I wanted to do was take his picture, but I hesitated. Now, instead of a photo of some random biker holding an i am bumper sticker, all I have is a lame photo of me holding the bumper sticker and the mental picture of him riding off into the sunset, never to be seen again.

Okay, it wasn’t as romantic or dramatic as that. It was nine in the morning and there was no sunset.

This is not the first time that I have hesitated to seize an opportunity. I don’t expect it will be the last. However, I hope with each lost chance for something intriguing, I will lose a shade of that hesitation for next time...

Read the full post...