You find its easier to part with jewelry than seashells, you let go of silver earrings tarnished and tangled with beaded necklaces in an old wooden wine box that you decide to keep because you've always had a thing for wooden boxes. And shells. And rocks.
You find a photo album with ultrasound pictures from the day you learned, 18 weeks into your pregnancy, that your first child would be a boy, the day you learned your cervix was opening, a risk to the boy you had yet to imagine, the day you learned "slow down" meant lying down for days on end in hopes gravity would keep him safe.
You find the album alongside your incomplete wedding album, the one you started working on during your days in bed, when the only time you were allowed to leave the house was for subsequent ultrasounds, the black and white photos tucked neatly behind the plastic sleeves continue for a few pages, six weeks of appointments, till...
Pages as bare as the nursery you thought you'd have more time to finish, the rest of the album as empty as your arms on the day Elias was born.
You find a gift certificate to Lucky Wishbone for half-off a jumbo cheeseburger and soft drink dated 2/10/04, eight days after your son was born at 24 weeks with an APGAR score of zero, a stroke at birth, no breath, machines keeping your baby boy alive-- and you know why you didn't crave cooked beef from the classic 5th Avenue burger joint back then, during your first weeks in the NICU, but wonder why you held onto the half-ass gift card for so long, over twelve years. You take a picture and recycle it.
You find your time for writing limited, despite holding more ideas in your mind than the previous months combined, and so you tuck your stories into your wooden boxes, alongside your striped stones and oyster shells, your heart shaped rocks and moon snails, you pack your thoughts up for fall, folding metaphors and reflections alongside tablecloths and dresses, and imagine yourself dropping your kids at school at the end of August and heading to the Seward library that looks out over Resurrection bay, or to ResArt, a historic church turned coffee house, with your laptop and notebook, and the image of mornings, instead of late nights, spent writing and reading makes the sorting and packing of all this stuff somehow worth it.
You find it emotionally draining to hold all these relics, new and old, past and present, to turn them over in your hands and ponder: Keep or give away? Toss or donate? Store for later or hold out for now?
You find yourself walking around Seward feeling hopeful about the place you will soon call home. You find yourself walking around Airport Heights feeling wistful about the place you have called home.
You find yourself wanting to just lie down, amidst all the boxes, to pick up your book and fall into someone else's life for awhile. Or to take a moment to write and reflect instead of deciding and packing.
And so you do.