The Future Is Now

I confess to being something of a techno-novice. In other words I came late to the party on the information highway. I resisted e-mail, I scoffed at my husband’s need for a Blackberry over a cell phone years ago. And when I finally got a cell phone I was barely able to make calls.If I needed to add a number to the contacts one of my kids had to do the programing for me. As a matter of fact every time someone in the family needed a new cell phone we just tacked more time onto my contract and updated theirs. Until finally my phone just burst one day quite literally in my hands. At this point my husband decided I should join the rest of the family and get an I-phone. I also, by now had my own laptop. I joined Face book, and started a blog. My family still can’t believe it.

But this month the world really stopped spinning when I asked for and received for my birthday an e-reader. A Barne’s and Noble Nook, to be exact. I have always been an avid reader spending much free time at the library and various new and even used bookstores. I probably like books even more than shoes. Which is another blog all together.
And so I have come to this. The woman who told my son’s kindergarten teacher I would volunteer for any post just not “computer-mom” now has not one but three wi-fi devices.
Now, I am no genius at any of these tools. I still do not know how to “cut and paste”. And I am woefully ignorant of many other basic tasks. And the “language” of the computer. Well,when I had my first day as “computer-mom” (yes my request went ignored) I did not know what the “mouse” was. Now it was the early ’90’s and I had left an office position where I used only a “word-processor” 4 years prior. But even still thank goodness for the 5yr old who could direct me to the mouse.

So, I have entered the future. A little late, and far behind the rest of my family. It’s kind of fun. And my husband and kids love to tease me about my failings and foibles with all these devices. But I’m not worried or embarrassed. I’m still the only one in the family who knows how to properly load the dishwasher. I’m just say’n.

Keepsakes and Memories

When is the right time to discard or find a new home for memorabilia? Every morning when I brush my teeth (and for that matter every night too) I see it. A small stainless steel cup, a raised teddy bear face on the front, my son’s name engraved on the back. It is somewhat like the sterling silver cup on the windowsill over my kitchen sink. One is filled with Q-tips, the other houses lip balms, assorted sewing needles and other small items. They were both gifts to my now 23 year-old son. I don’t think he realizes they are actually “his.” And while he does use Q-tips, he does not have a kitchen sink window in his Chicago apartment. But I wonder, at what time should I relinquish ownership to the rightful owner?

I have nooks and crannies all over my house that hold someonelse’s something. And while the two cups are emblematic they do give me pause. The collection of school art work, report cards and his National Honor Society certificate are all safely housed in a Rubbermaid container. Will he ever want them?

I’m not the first parent confronted with these questions. When I had been married 2 years and my husband and I were moving across state lines my parents had us stop by to “pick up a few things.” Let’s just say that it was a good thing we already had a truck. Some of the items I was ecstatic to take, like the antique oak curio my father salvaged that had been in my room since I was 10. Other things like paperback books were just things I then got rid of. But, I feel like my mother must have back then. She could not just dispose of the items of my past no matter how large or insignificant. It would feel just wrong.

I have a friend who helped her mother-inlaw move from a home of many years to a condo. In cleaning out the basement they came upon the dental retainer of my friend’s husband. That’s really a piece of personal memorabilia. That story prompted me to dispose of both my children’s retainers when they passed out of the land of orthodonture. But I hold on to other things.

I have small remnants of both of their “transitional objects.” Otherwise known as security blankets. They remind me of a sweet time in their lives when a soft cloth could ease their hearts and give them comfort.

The reverse of this story is of course the keepsakes I inherited from my own parent’s lives. The box of really old photos of nameless unknown people from the lives they had together and separate of each other haunt me from my attic. I just could not get rid of them.

These are not things I cherish, I just feel like releasing them is too close to erasing my parents lives from history. Periodically, I am able to get rid of something. The last winter jacket my dad wore hung in my basement for years until I could put it into a coat collection barrel. But that bowling shirt with his name on it, his driver’s license, I still have those.

And so I think I’ll keep the baby cups for a while longer. They really don’t fit into a 20-something’s decor. But there will come a time I’m sure when they will have to go to their true owner. But somehow I’m sure they will always mean more to me than they mean to him, I’m just say’n.

Do you have a treasure trove that is not quite treasure? Please comment and let me know.

Emergency Guidelines

Thank you all for the comments and messages about what your worries are if you are absent from your world. We share many things in common; unemptied vacuum cleaner bags and untended pets lead the way. Mostly we are concerned about families and in some cases co-workers, who may not know the secrets of civilization. Otherwise known as how to put the new roll on the toilet tissue holder and other rituals. It’s amazing how important we all are- I’m just say’n.