When he was in First Grade, my son Finn came up to me one day and said, “Look at my closet, my shoes are in a line and you can see the memories of all the fun I had when I was wearing them”
So we went through the shoes:
“These are the shoes you wore to the beach last summer”
“These were your running shoes”
“You stomped in so many puddles with these boots, and raked the yard and kicked autumn leaves”
“Started kindergarten in these”
“Ended kindergarten in these”
I was really touched that Finn assumed I could see what he saw in his mind, where he saw it, as if we shared minds.
And it’s true–I could, when he pointed out to me what he saw when he looked at the shoes.
He was showing me a beautiful way to relate to my possessions. After we’d gone through his shoes like this, honoring each memory they held, I had a new appreciation for my own things. Shoes, clothes, books. We’re always in relation to the objects around us, and we have a choice whether that relationship is one of presence and appreciation, or one of casual disregard.
I seem to swing between the two, but the discussion with Finn helped rekindle my awareness of how our selves, and our memories, soak into the items that we use, and how we, in turn, are shaped by the items we possess.