Monday, June 1, 2009

I'll Take a Hundred Stuffed Animals over the Exxon Valdez in My Kitchen

There are so many memories that are unburied when you pack up your house for a move. Even though it has nearly driven me to insanity trying to load up the cardboard boxes with four small children in my midst, I have so enjoyed going through the backs of closets and the attic, finding treasures that bring a flood of memories.

I found the Christening Gown that my father wore when he was an infant, white linen and hand crocheted, and tiny. I was overwhelmed acknowledging how quickly time passes.

I discovered a folder that contained my brag list from high school, a list of achievements and activities that consumed my teenage life; a handful of recommendation letters from various people to admissions boards for colleges; and that wondrous acceptance letter from the best university in the world (Gig 'Em Aggies).

I perused through album after album of photographs, capturing my brother and I playing in the hay bales as toddlers, my awkward adolescent days of lace tights, jean skirts and overteased hair, my early college years at a sorority mixers, the days of dating Caleb when we would find weird outfits at goodwill and hit the town for some fun, and even our wedding... all those pre-digital days.

And then I found them. Two shelves in Avery's closet, completely consumed by them. The sneezing began, and kept. on. going. So I bagged them, all but a handful of those stuffed animals, to share with children that may want cuteness induced asthma. The survivors that will make it on the moving truck and into our new home... The little yellow lab, named Rogie. The soft gray kitty, named Kitzel. The pre-school sized Raggedy Ann that was given to me when I was a young girl by my Aunt Janice (she desperately needs some TLC, Oma). A darling little dolly made by Oma with the reddest hair and yellowest dress. And of course, Sophia and Audrey, persistent and precious bunny foo foos made by my SIL, Leigh.

We are tying things up here in the Rio Grande Valley, saying goodbye to the people that we love. Later this week, I hope to display some of the oddities of the Valley that I just won't miss when we trade the tall palms for the tall East Texas pines.

Avery spent her last weekend in the Valley with my cousin, Jode, and two of her daughters. Ellie is Avery's age and they have a really sweet bond. When they left for their weekend getaway to Corpus Christi, I handed Jode some cash to cover expenses and for a couple souvenirs. She assured me that she would not bring back stuffed animals.

Jode texted me pictures, journaling their travels... the arrival at the hotel, brushing their teeth the next morning, their silhouettes dancing with dolphins at the aquarium, climbing aboard the USS Lexington, breakfast at Whataburger Bayside, sticking their hands in an alligator's mouth at the Children's museum.

When she returned my tired baby girl to me, Avery was bearing two souvenirs, neither a stuffed animal. The little pair of binoculars was the kindest gift for her brother and the snow globe of the USS Lexington would help her remember that special trip for years to come. Or at least for that night.

McClaine lost grip and that little snow globe fell to the tile floor, cracked and oozed... an oily liquid which is still slicker than the Exxon Valdez oil spill on my kitchen floor after multiple rounds of soapy mopping! As I was mopping the slippery mess for the third time, I thought of how satisfied I would have been with a little stuffed animal from the aquarium.


Elaine A. said...

What a lovely, sweet post to read. I'm going through similar experiences as we go through all of our stuff preparing to move as well. Best wishes for your move. Where in East Tx are you moving (if you don't mind me asking)?

Katie W said...

You are such a clever writer, Tyne! I loved hearing about sweet Avery's souvenirs! Hope all the packing continues to go well!

vickypad said...

Officially in tears. We are going to miss you.