February 1, 2012


There's no doubt I'm a sentimental person. For years, I've kept small things as a reminder of a person or a place or some precious memory that I want to somehow keep with me for always. I have an entire box of sentimental trinkets specifically from my childhood and very young adult years - things I have purposed to save.

From time to time I go through this box. It contains pieces of my childhood and carefully preserved memories, mostly so I never forget that I was once 9 or 14. Now that I'm nearing 31, those years feel further away than they used to. And for some reason, yesterday felt like a good day to sift through some memories.
I saved a lot of seemingly random things from my childhood. Trinkets, small sheets of paper with meaningful sayings. Movie stubs, dried flowers now falling apart, cards and letters. Friendship bracelets and newspaper clippings. Pictures of my parents when they were married and looked like they were in love.
There are a few snapshots of the boys I used to have crushes on. Some of them make me smile and some make me groan or sigh.
Every little thing saved has a meaning behind it - and some of these valuables I can remember distinctly why I saved them and some of them leave me with questions like, "What on earth is this for?"

And for the record, the "Kiss Me" conversation heart is from 1994 and it was given to me shortly before my very first kiss ever by a boy named Brennan. I've never been able to part with it. And apparently, conversation hearts withstand the test of time as it's never fallen apart. Perhaps you should think about that before eating them.
Some things make me smile and remind me that not everything in my past was sad or sorrowful. Just because my brother was sick and my parents divorced doesn't make it all bad. Maybe for a long time I believed that and lived that way. But, there was camp and fun friends in high school and choir and times of uncontrollable laughter and silliness. I'm thankful for the brighter moments to look back on and know that there were parts of me that really did live back then.
I cut this outside of a magazine once and could never part with it either. I've clung to the word "sometimes" for years. Because yes, SOMETIMES, dreams really do come true.
The box contains writings and stories from my younger self. My favorite story ever about the girl who had dog ears. Epic story actually.
The first song I ever wrote was in college. It was about my relationship with God and when He started becoming real because I started making grown up, adult decisions and experiencing Him and His grace outside of Sunday school lessons and sermons.
There is a gift that my sister had made for me the Christmas before I got married - a "Scrapbook" of sorts. Her sentiments about mom here are sweet: "Then we have lovely mother here who sadly died December 28, 1999. On her brother's birthday! We are gratefull that she is in haven. Good thing we have Robin! I love Jennifer. YOU ROCK OUT LOUD."
I love that she saw what a gift it was to have Robin. Where she knew she wouldn't be void of a mother in her life. Those words feel innocent and youthful and true. Perhaps I love most though, that to Laura at age 11, I apparently rocked out loud.

There are stacks of papers to prove that maybe I really am a writer. Maybe it's not too late to go after a dream that's always just been a dream. After all, isn't it true that SOMETIMES our dreams come true?
My most prize possession of the box though has to be this. The letter my mom wrote to me March 30, 1996.

The letter that I have as tangible proof that she loved me. That she was sorry, that she wanted more, that she was hurting. That she was proud of me. It helps for me to read it sometimes, especially when I want to believe that those things aren't really true. And for when I just miss her and wish she were here to talk to.

It's been a long time since I've held on to a scrap of paper or a conversation heart or words clipped out of magazines. Maybe because now I have a blog and Pinterest and a digital camera. It feels easier in this day in age to hold on to things that you want to remember in ways that don't take up as much space or need a box like these things do.

I suppose though I will always have sentiments. I will always have things to hold on to and memories I want to cling to and hold dear. The ability to touch pieces of my story with my 30-something year old hands feels like a gift. Somehow, it helps me stay in touch with who I used to be and how it has all brought me to being the woman I am now. The wife, the mom, the bookkeeper, the wanna-be-writer, the singer.

The memory keeper.


  1. From someone who knows it when she sees it, you're a writer, Jen. Own that. :)

  2. How fun. Each memory is like revisiting an event ... or person. We sometimes think we will never forget, but as time marches on sometimes we do. It's good you have your stash of wonderful things to help you cherish the times and the people you always want to hold onto.

  3. I love that you've kept all this stuff, and I really love that you've shared it on your blog. :)
    Your mother was beautiful.

  4. I'm glad that you have those things to remember events and things in your life...I guess its quite common for girls to do that...its good to remember... Luv ya

  5. Super fun to see pics of the boys and groan right along with you. So now I know that we have at least two former crushes in common, though never B. :) We were so lucky to be surrounded by such an eclectic, (sometimes) mature group of guys in high school!