And then one day, there was a horrible earthquake several hours north of where we lived.
That was the first time I willingly parted with anything that meant something to me. Probably, all these years later, not one of those prized treasures I sent north with my dad still exists, but that's fine. I did like the Little Twin Stars squishy dolls I sent--they were plastic and about half an inch tall. The boy was blue and the girl was pink. They were just big enough to fit in my little-kid hand. And I really liked the wax turtle. It was small enough to hold also, but I don't think it would have lasted 17 years. It was wax, after all.
I still have the things I didn't send up, but I don't have a daughter yet to give my jewelry to, so I'll probably hang on to that stuff a little while longer. Maybe my nieces will get my plastic jewelry, and maybe my son will have a daughter. Wouldn't that be something? My granddaughter wearing my gold and pink necklace and matching bracelet...
I'm glad I gave away most of my treasures--I sure wouldn't want that rock from some random boy now (although my avid geologist of a son might have appreciated it!). I received more joy than I had expected to receive as my dad drove away with my stuff, because I knew that the girls he would give my treasures to would love them as much as I had (I refuse to believe otherwise). And I'm glad I kept my jewelry; some things you just don't give away to just anyone. (Now if I can only teach that concept to my son, whose tender heart wants to share every last item he owns.)
As my life goes on and I slowly start to accumulate more things, I always try to pause and really ask myself something. Is this particular item something that will gather dust and once a year I will look at it and smile, or do I need to keep it around for a specific purpose? I have learned from too much expired candy and moldy fruit than I care to admit that if I'm not going to use it, I need to give it to someone who will. And when I do, amazingly, that joy from so long ago comes flooding back, reassuring my heart that I made the right decision.