I am holding a beautiful Wedgewood porcelain tea pot.
I found it high up and way in the back of the kitchen cabinet during my move.
This beautiful thing.
I don't know its history. When it was purchased. Who it served.
I don't know if it holds happy memories. Or terrible ones. I don't know if it held hopes and dreams of beautiful dinner parties. Or if it has served an army of broken hearts, mistrusts and betrayals.
I only know that it has been carefully stored. And that it is not mine.
And that I am sure it has stories to tell.
I am holding a tiny purple sock that belongs to a little girl with feet twice this size now. This long-forgotten sock was hiding behind the Hoover Dam of cleaning supplies under the sink in the laundry room. I didn't know this little girl when her feet weren't walked on. When she was only carried and socks fell behind her on the floor like autumn leaves. When her feet were little blocks and you couldn't help yourself from counting and re-counting, making sure there were five toes.
I only know that this purple sock has been saved for this exact moment. For me to be a silent witness to a brief moment in time.
And that I am lucky to have her in my life now.
I am holding an old grey teddy bear. So loved, it has a velveteen heartbeat. It smells like my daughter. Home. The bear was three to our two, and has gone with us all over the world and back again. At this age, the bear still gets cuddled at night. Yet, by day, the clandestine comfort is hidden behind pillows, for fear that its owner might not be taken seriously. You wouldn't know that her bear was bright-white when she was three. Or that it lit up many dark post-divorce nights and scared away dozens of bad dreams. You wouldn't know that the little panda shirt on the bear was purchased when she was seven. With her own money. Or how we took an entire afternoon sorting through newborn clothes to find just-the-right onesie. Or that she pushed that bear, in its spiffy new outfit all the way home in a stroller built for tiny mommies.
You would only know that this bear has been loved. And that it means something to someone.
And that we leave a piece of ourselves on what we touch.
I think of my mom's purse. And how it sat right by the living room door for days after she died. As if she could walk out of the backroom at any moment and snatch it up as she headed out to run a few errands. That thing was so alive when she was here, and it became just a leather container of weird mom-things after she was gone.
I think of how none of us wanted to move it. And how I would run my finger along the worn strap hoping that it could bridge the immense gap between life and death.
I think of these things as I pack up my old life and move into my new life. I think of how long life is. And how many roads we have all taken to meet right here.
In the center of our lives.
To begin again.
And that what we touch.
The things. The places. The hearts. The lives.
Are all imprinted with our having been here.
And what a beautiful thing.