Which would you choose?

If my house were to catch fire,photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oldonliner/1485881035/">OldOnliner</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
and I had but one thing I could rescue,
aside of course from my children,
and maybe my husband,
I wonder what it would be?

It makes me question value.
What is more valuable to me,
something tangible that costs a pretty penny,
or memories, which are priceless?

I own very little of real value,
but I do have some items which to me are priceless.

One is a leather writing case.
This was given to me by my sister,
before I left for Australia.
It is black in color with a zip.
Every time I open it,
my senses are assaulted.
The touch and feel of the leather,
and the smell of it and old letters.

Within this case,photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/madhya/4222574357/">Madhya</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
are a multitude of letters.
There are the first letters,
sent to me, from my now husband.
Letters of early love,
testing feelings,
wary of sounding too needy.

Letters of news and love,
sent by my family to me when I lived in Australia.
Picture messages sent by young family members,
birthday and wedding cards.
Letters and notelets that were left on my pillow,
by my own children and those I minded over the years.

Also within this case,
are letters and cards from my Dad.
Priceless as he is no longer with us.
Yes this case I would want to rescue.

But if I could get just one thing
is this the one?

What about my twenty seven year old diary?
I began to write in earnest,photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/infodad/4072560067/">Infodad</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">cc</a>
six weeks after my Dad died.
I was drowning in grief,
and those early entries are so raw,
that they pain me to read them to this day.
So much is contained in this diary,
that it has extended into a second one.

This diary is not a daily diary.
Entries were written haphazardly.
Describing and documenting in great details,
the ins and outs of my life.
My engagement, and life in Australia.
My marriage, moving house, pregnancies and births.
It details my joys and sorrows,
times of great happiness and desperate sadness.
A lifetime of happenings,
a myriad of emotions.
For many years this diary was my secret friend.
The one I turned to when times were rough.

Is it this diary I would rescue?

Or is it the two frames that hang in the kitchen.
These are very large,
and they contain hundreds of photos,photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/qthomasbower/3563420741/">qthomasbower</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
cropped to form a collage.
These photos are a visual diary,
of the twenty years of my life,
that was motherhood.

So many memories are held within those frames.
Every day I look at them,
I see something different.
The first frame documents the first ten years.
The happy faces of childhood.
The young exhausted faces of two parents,
as they struggled through the early days of parenting.
The growing, changing bodies of our children.

I hear their shouts and laughter,
as I see them on the swing,
jumping on the trampoline,
or splashing in a paddling pool.
I smile as I see them gathered on my husbands lap,
dressed in pyjamas, listening to a bedtime story.
I ache a little when I see them in a high chair,
or peeping out of the back pack I carried them everywhere in.
I won’t even begin to express my thoughts,
as I see them smiling broadly,
posing for their first day at school, photos.

In the second frame, time has marched on.
It begins with the home birth of our youngest,
but it also documents the change in family.
Now there are teenagers to look at.
Young adults looking out at me.

By looking at these two frames,
I get to relive twenty years of mothering.
It only takes a moment.
No words are required.
It never fails to make me smile.
A great visual reminder to us and our children,
of what we have shared together.

So there it is,
I have not one thing I might rescue but three.
Which would I choose?
I honestly do not know.

photo credit: Madhya via photopin cc
photo credit: Infodad via photopin cc
photo credit: qthomasbower via photopin cc
photo credit: OldOnliner via photopin cc


26 thoughts on “Which would you choose?

  1. I’ve tried and I can’t. I would keep the diary and writing case together and grab both. Visual images I can conjure up in my head but the tactile experience and memories contained within the others would be a real loss to me.
    I would like to vote but I can’t. I would probably roast in the fire trying to decide.:(x

  2. I would choose th photos, though it would be a toss up between that and the letters. I think it would just be harder to conjure up memories of how these little babies faces changed throughout their lives. Tricky questions!

    1. The photos are fantastic I have to say. However I do love the letters, and then all that emotion in two diaries, I don’t really think I prefer any particular one. Its impossible

    1. You say that, but in your writing your memories are very powerful and full of emotion. The past shapes our future. These are a very tangible link to my past. As I get older my past with my children becomes even more special. Although I do not plan the future as I do also like to enjoy today.

      1. last summer
        my brother’s house
        burnt down
        when they were on vacation
        ~
        they lost all
        mementos
        ~
        their fire
        adjusted my
        perspective
        on many
        things
        ~
        maybe this is why
        I’ve started
        a virtual
        collection

        1. Oh how dreadful. It must be so hard to lose so much of your past. I can understand you starting a virtual collection. I suppose in time this is the way our children will store their memories. My sympathies to your brother.
          We had a family locally who lost their house and memories also. All their family and friends copied as many photos as they had of their children to help them make new albums.

  3. i would choose your words. the pictures will stay in your mind forever, you have lived them. i have thought about this very thing and i know that the only things i would really miss would be writings, letters and photos, all the rest is temporary and so replaceable to me.

  4. I’ve voted for the diary, tric – not because I think that would mean more to you than the letters or photographs, but because I think the diary would be the more treasured item to gift to future generations of your family

    The photos mean a lot to you because they conjure up memories of the day they were taken but after everyone in the photos has passed on, the images will not mean much to future generations of your family when looking at them

    You diaries, on the other hand, will enable your descendants to get to know you – you will not just be a faded image in an old photograph to them. Your diaries will bring you to life for them.

    [I’ve done a fair bit of genealogical research on my own family and would love to have uncovered a diary one of them had written!]

    1. Yes when you put it that way I would have to agree. That diary was my friend to moan with, bitch about others with, cry with, celebrate and laugh with. All manner of lifes experiences are contained in it.
      I read letters my mum and dad wrote and got a great insight into their lives, however I would have loved to know there is a diary somewhere.
      Good thinking Duncan.

  5. OMG ! I cant decide…..my instinct says to go for the writing case, my heart says the photos….jeez….you’ve really made me question just what it is i would save if i could……

    1. Okay. My vote was the collage. I’m assuming this is something you look at every day even if it’s just a glimpse as you walk by. Maybe if you kept everything by the door you wouldn’t have to choose. =)

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