December is the perfect month to reflect on the material possessions acquired in one’s lifetime. My husband’s gift to me this year was my Macbook. For Chanukah, he has given me art supplies each night. The general idea is,”I support your creativity and I know you can do awesome things”. And while I could go on about my never-ending wish list and all of the household renovations I lust after, I thought I would look at it from a different perspective. If I could only keep five possessions, what would I choose?
Rules: all pets are automatically included (they are family members, not chattel); all photos are included, and my engagement ring & wedding band remain on my finger at all times. Now that the groundwork has been established, here is my top five list of most beloved worldly possessions:
One: My mom’s needlepoint canvases. When I was about 12 or 13, my mom took up needlepoint. Before the internet made crafting easily accessible to everyone, my mom took up needlepoint the old-fashioned way: books and seventy year old mentors at the local sewing store. Mom built up an arsenal of fancy stitchwork, resulting in two of my favorite wall decorations. Currently displayed in my living room are the pieces I call “Wise Unicorn” and “Hot Air Balloons Take Flight”. My mom always had a love for all things whimsical, which is reflected in her canvas choice and thread colors, which range from rainbow to metallic.
Two: God Gave Us Mary/3-10-1925. In the treasure trove which is my china cabinet is a small , 2 inch x 2 inch, gold-framed needlepoint canvas which reads “God Gave Us Mary, 3-10-1925”. It belonged to my maternal grandmother, Marietta. It was created by one of her family members (presumably her mom or grandma). My grandmother was one of the most important people of my lifetime. For a large portion of my life, she was my caretaker. The safety and comfort I felt around my grandmother has not been replicated since she passed away. To me, Marietta was sent by God and that small canvas is a physical reminder of her presence/presents.
Three: My ketubah. My husband and I just celebrated four years of marriage (and over a decade of togetherness). We were married on 11-11 underneath a handheld chuppah, surrounded by friends and family. I spent weeks picking out a ketubah. I browsed online for hours. Many were either too trendy, too modern, too abstract, or too traditional. We finally took a drive over to a friend’s Judaica shop, where we decided on a piece which celebrated the Jewish lifecycle with cute watercolor symbols for special times throughout the year. Our ketubah is egalitarian and is a constant reminder of the partnership which we have chosen together. It is irreplaceable.
Four: Pawprints and animal ashes. In the master bedroom closet is where the remains of our beloved pets, Teddy, Princess, and Tony, can be found.
Teddy was my second poodle, a white miniature adopted when I was four years old. Teddy lived an insanely long life, was hit by a car twice, and loved eating Golden Grahams every evening.
Princess was my first puppy. We brought her home at eight weeks old. She was a cottonball of an animal who loved mischief, snacks, and sprints through the backyard. In her old age, she developed diabetes. I stuck myself with an insulin needle twice for that pup.
Our third pet, Tony, passed away this year. Tony was a stray tabby that wandered into Mark’s life. He was an instant lover who had a snarl for a smile. Tony was my first (and best) kitty love.
Five: Eeyores. Most people are unaware, but I am a lover of all things Winnie the Pooh, especially Eeyore. Who doesn’t love a sad donkey? One of the things which I love most about my husband is his indulgence of my silly passions. Over the course of many years, Mark has built me a beautiful collection of Eeyore figurines. I display them in my china cabinet and take them out once or twice a year to “rearrange” – ok, so maybe I have a little fun playing with them. They are a reminder of how loved I am by my lover.
I hope your special belongings are also filled with love and meaning.
Disclaimer: this post was written under the influence of Sufjan Stevens.