Last week, in the pouring rain, we schlepped the rest of our earthly possessions out of their storage unit prison and into a moving van for a trip across the United States.
In addition to everything in our storage unit, we were taking all of the things we'd been storing at my parents house as well. These were the last things into the truck. The very last was an obnoxious orange tub, which my mom told me was, "Full of your crap." The "you" in this instance was, in fact, me. I lifted the lid off the tub, saw a jacket that was indeed mine, and shuffled the orange beast off to the truck.
Fast forward one week. We're unpacking into the Orlando home of Jason's parents and Grandma, the home that in the fall will be ours and Grandma's for three and a half years.
As it was when we had loaded the truck, the orange tub was the very last box that needed to be attacked. I put it off because I had labeled it "scary", seeing as to how I had no idea what could possibly be in it.
Imagine my surprise when the box of "crap" I had been dreading yielded a treasure trove.
Below the jacket that was indeed mine, I first found newspaper clippings from the many times my sister Kelli's basketball prowess earned mention in the local paper.
This, of course, led me at first to believe the heinous orange box belonged to my sister.
Upon further examination, the box yielded the "crap" of my mother. And it turns out that the crap was not that at all, but treasure. Treasures that tell the story of a girl, a daughter, a sister, a woman, a wife and a mother. Keepsakes, cards, photos... The story of a half century of life.
There are baby photos of my mom, of my sister, of me. A decade's worth of Valentine's cards from my dad to my mom- still in love after 35 years of marriage. A photo of them from the 70's - so young and so in love. Newspaper clippings - not just featuring my sister, but my mom and her birth father, and others - things that have inspired her throughout the years. A typed eulogy from her brother's funeral. Photos from my Grandma's funeral in 2006. A ceramic handprint dated 1990. Judging from the size of the hand and the year, it must be my sister's.
There are photos of my dad's last lab, Shadow Bear, swimming with her sister Cheyenne. Photos of the family cabin, site of so many happy memories, since burned in a wildfire and swept away in a mudslide. And a small circular patch, labeled West High Physical Fitness, something my mother excelled at and would make her life's work.
I am, of course, returning this treasure box to my mom. But I had such a blast going through it, seeing what was there and finding insight into mom and all her many layers.
Isn't it amazing how every once in a while, junk turns out to be a diamond?