That's Life

Give Experiences, Not Things

Take a walk through your home pondering this question: “If my house were on fire, what would be the one thing I would grab on my way out?” Your first thought might be a family member or a pet, but let’s say they are already out of the house and safe. What would be the one thing you would be devastated to part with?

You may be surprised to find that there are very few things in your home you couldn’t live without. Maybe it’s a treasured photo of a family member long gone. Or perhaps an irreplaceable heirloom or keepsake. For me, it’s the journals I keep for my daughters and husband.

A few months back, we came across one of those lists of questions, the ones that are supposed to help you get to know you partner better. And, like many of this type of list, the question about a fire came up. And as we sat contemplating all the things in our home, we realized just how unimportant all of it is.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having a bed and a refrigerator, a computer and a tv. But none of these things are vital to my life. I would be sad to lose them and would work hard to replace them, but I would be devastated and almost inconsolable for a short time were I to lose the journals I’ve started for my family.

When we moved to our new apartment in July I thought I had lost the journals I started. I started my husbands in 2013, just shortly after we got together. Sweet Girl’s was started at her birth, and I started Dimples’ journal halfway through my pregnancy. It may not seem like much, but I have poured my heart out into each entry made in their journals. Though my husband has read each entry as I’ve created them, my girls will have these to look back on when they are older. They provide insights into the little, everyday things that happen in their lives. The things that aren’t on any milestone list. I’ve written about the joy I feel at 4 am when I’m rocking and nursing Sweet Girl. I’ve written about the overwhelming sense that Dimples will touch more lives than she will know.

When I discovered they were missing I cried. I froze in place and cried at the loss of those memories. I cried at the loss of the keepsake I would pass on to my girls when they are old enough to read through their journals.

I remember the conversation I had with BJ when I discovered their loss. All he could say was that he knows how upset I was because we had talked about those being the only thing I would take with me in the case of a house fire.

Likewise, when I found those journals in the back of a box in the bottom of a closet, I cried. I can’t even put into words how happy I was to know they were no longer lost.

I got a glimpse into what would happen if I lost the one thing I thought I would want to save. I was heartbroken. So walk through your home; what would you save? And, as you do this, realize that what’s really important are the experience you have with the ones you care about, not the things they’ve given you. Much of what you own is replaceable.

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