I didn’t take all of my belongings out of Mom’s apartment when I moved into my first dorm room. A dorm doesn’t allow every single item that one owns. I took the necessities with me and left the rest at…I’m struggling with the right word.
I don’t want to use “home” because I certainly didn’t feel as though I were leaving a home. It had been years since I felt “at home” where I lived. I guess it’s more accurate to say that I was leaving my belongings in the closet that Mom set aside for me in her apartment. Too wordy, but most accurate.
All the time that I was a student, I lived in a dormitory. I worked as an RA year round so that I’d never be forced to leave. The University of Alabama became my home. In those years, Mom moved more than I did.
When I finally finished earning my BS (and acquired my Mrs.), I said goodbye to dorm-life. Karl and I settled on a little two bedroom apartment in the middle of town. I finally had room for those few things I had left with Mom.
I was especially excited about the box of Christmas ornaments that were mine: gifts from friends and teachers, ones that I had made, the one from first grade showcasing my toothless smile. Karl’s mom had kept all of his ornaments for him and presented them to us around the time of our wedding. It was fun to look through all of them and hear the stories behind them. I wanted to add mine to his collection.
I called Mom to set up a time for me to pick up the few things I had left with her. That’s when she told me. After one of Mom’s many moves (she couldn’t remember which), she left my box of ornaments beside some dumpsters near her apartment. While she contends that she was only inside for a moment and didn’t know that the garbage pick up was that day, I think she just got tired of moving my things around with her.
I’ll never know why she didn’t simply call and tell me to find somewhere else to keep my things. She didn’t, and a box of my Christmas memories is rotting in a landfill today. That, or someone I don’t know is enjoying a few tattered picture-ornaments of a strange, silly girl; a stuffed, hand sewn Christmas tree pillow; my hand print in plaster; and a bedraggled reindeer made of pipe cleaners on their tree. (If that’s you, email me!)
Christmas 1998: our first Christmas together as husband and wife. Our tree, sparsely decorated, with branches open and ready to hold ornaments yet to come, represented a new beginning for me. Karl and I marked it with our first official ornament.
Whether it’s the first ornament on the tree or the last, I always place it with remembrance of our first Christmas and thanksgiving that I’m home.