I've spent the last week moving my Mother from Kentucky to NC. I know this move has to be hard for her. She is down-sizing, moving to a new community and leaving most of what has defined her for many years behind. Or at least before the actual move I thought she was leaving those things behind.
Things went fairly well considering she is in her 80's, has a cat who is half wild, and enough stuff, that couldn't be moved until the last minute, to keep me busy with questions of why do you need this? As I packed her treasures I wondered about the things an octogenarian deems important. Bags upon bags of plastic bags, a small orange plastic measuring cup, tiny scraps of paper filled with shaky handwriting, and toys for a calico cat. I began to puzzle over her choices. Is it the small everyday things that are important? Are we all wasting energy and precious time acquiring all the symbols of modern success? I thought of the boxes of dishes, sports equipment, and who knows what else, I moved when we changed locations. It all seemed so vital.
The items that connect us to our basic needs are what my Mom's treasures tell me are valuable. Perhaps the items she wouldn't allow to go in the moving van say the most? The calico cat, of course, and a small box filled with her living will, social security information and pictures of those she loves. "If I make it to my new home with these, everything will be ok," she said. Wisdom comes with age, they say. For once I feel they might be right.