They are small and inconsequential, these mementos from childhood. A tiny necklace here. A dull money box there. A book, out of date, with your parent’s handwriting on the opening page. These are the things that shaped your early life, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll shape lives after yours.
When I went home to Australia last year, I did something that was long overdue: I packed up my stuff, discarding some, donating others, and packing the remainder into boxes and shipping them to Canada. It was a long and tender process. Love letters reread, old diaries torn apart in order to keep the one page that actually said something, beloved gifts from friends sadly set aside. And among the books and linens and remnants of the past were my childhood treasures, most of which I dutifully wrapped and sent to Canada in the vain hope that, one day, we might have wee ones to pass them on to.
One necklace that doesn’t even fit around my neck…
… and another with earrings I can no longer wear.
Books, carefully culled from a broader selection. Some are gems I couldn’t dream parting with as a child as I pored over them for hours on end. Others were simply old family favourites, filled with spectacular 70s-style artwork that now looks fresh and vibrantly edgy.
TWO kiddies’ dining sets. And I didn’t even know we were going to have twins. They’ll have to fight over the sets, though. One is the full complement: My beloved Peter Rabbit set, complete with bowl (flat-bottomed and perfect for Weet Bix if I remember correctly), plate, egg cup, teacup and saucer. I adored having breakfast in this set. It made me feel so grown up and fancy.
The other was my big sister’s. It’s now just a plate and bowl. I think there was a cup at some stage, but I haven’t seen it for years. For some reason, she didn’t want to keep it. (If you regret that now, sis, and want it sent back, just let me know. It’s been across the Pacific once. Another trip is totally do-able.)
And one very well-travelled bear. I got Paddy as a child, took him on my first overseas trip (to Germany as part of a study trip when I was 16) (I know, a bit old for bears while travelling, but it did help fend off homesickness.) Here’s hoping he’s feeling up to the onslaught of two new young’uns fighting for his attentions.
Yes, it’s all very girlie, so it’ll be easier if there’s at least one XX in there. If not, well, there’s nothing wrong with boys playing with dolls, and the books are totally unisex. (Sadly, all my tomboy gear was worn out in use. Oh well.)
One of the sweetest things about dragging these odds and ends across the globe, though, is that these are more than things. They’re slices of life, tended and adored and treasured through the years, in the hope that, one day, another little soul or two will find them just as beautiful and inspiring and breath-taking. It’s a legacy of love, passing down through the ages.
I do so hope they like them.