We have moved a lot. My oldest daughter has lived in 17 houses in 29 years of life. My husband is on his 34th or 35th house. I haven’t counted mine.
In all the movement, creating and defining place becomes difficult and sometimes painful. What and where is home? Does ‘place’ matter? What is stability? These are just a couple of the questions that go through your mind. I write a lot about this in the book Between Worlds with a whole section devoted to “Home” and another devoted to “Belonging.”
Some of the hard parts are around what you keep and what you throw or give away. It can be agonizing going through your things, packing up place.
But in all the hard and serious moments of trying to figure this out, there are the ones that are so funny you stop and laugh until your sides ache. A few years ago we had one of those moments and yesterday relived them.
A few years ago my daughter, Stefanie, was going through one of my boxes of ‘special’ things. She found an odd and old looking bag with something tiny inside and an old note. She took one look and her face paled.
“What is this?” she asked, holding up the bag and wrinkling her nose.
I took one look and started to smile and then laugh.
“Teeth,” I said. “Baby Teeth”
She looked like she was going to throw up.
“They are from the tooth fairy.” I added, thinking that would make it all okay.
“MOM! I can’t believe you kept some of our baby teeth” said the non-mom who has never been responsible for creating place in a world of movement.
Our kids loved the fictitious tooth fairy, who brought them a shiny dime from America wherever they lived in the world. And of all the teeny, tiny birthday teeth she (I) collected, these were of few of the remains. Relics of sorts. (you can tell I’ve turned Orthodox.) Something to remember when life turned more complicated.
And here is the note:
The memory comes quickly as I read it – her best friend had moved to Indiana and she no longer wanted a shiny dime. She had outgrown the dime.
So there in my small box of “keepables” are a plastic bag, baby teeth, and a note from long ago.
So in praise of the toothfairy, and memories that can’t be given or thrown away,I offer you this memory. What about you? What are your memories with children that surface in a life of movement?
PS- she got the ticket…..