Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Little Purple Cat

Recently my mother brought me about five boxes worth of my stuff from her house. I guess there comes a time when you really need to get your crap out of your parents house!
I should have gone over there and gone through it first. Much of this stuff is just trash, some of it just baffles me. I think my closet was just a dumping ground for everyone's junk that got shoved in there when I wasn't looking.
So far, I have uncovered my older brother's black light posters from the 70's! A batch of Scientific American magazines from the 80's (definitely not mine)a booklet entitled "Medicare and YOU" and my yearbooks.
I enjoyed and was also pained by my yearbooks. In tenth grade I was sitting on a tree branch getting my picture taken and I look like the loneliest girl in the world. Yet, two of my really good friends are sitting on the ground. I remember liking the way I was perched up there, and feeling really solid but not secure enough to smile or anything. Our individual pictures never appeared in the yearbook at this school. We were pictured in groups only.
My name wasn't even listed as part of Glee Club, but there I was. Sometimes I felt that invisible.
The memories are kind of bittersweet really, looking at those girls reaching through the past and trying to reconcile them in the past with who they are now. And there was my childhood laid out before me.
This morning I woke up and my youngest daughter had pulled out the wooden purple Chinese cat from one of the boxes.
I haven't seen it in years and I was beginning to wonder where it was. My son Cory gave it to me when he was about 10 years old. My son went to a holiday sale at Plowsharing Crafts with my friend and her mom.
He had ten dollars to spend any way he wanted but for some reason he got it in his head that he needed to get me a present so he pored over what he wanted for himself and made sure he had enough money to get me something as well. He spent a lot of time looking and finally decided on this hideous wooden purple cat. He got it for me because it was purple and it was a cat. My favorite color and my favorite animal- how could this be wrong?
Honestly, I was more genuinely touched at this hideously ugly present than some of the more beautiful trinkets I have been given in my life. I put it front and center on the mantel above the fireplace in my parent's house because it symbolized how much he loved me. Still today, if I think about it too long, it brings a tear to my eye. Somehow in the last move, it must have gotten put in a box away and not moved. I've never forgotten about the ugly little thing. When I found my daughter playing with it this morning, it brought a quick smile to my face and I put it in the glass cabinet with the special things.
When people used to see it on the mantel, they would look at it curiously- what on earth were you thinking when you got that and why would you put it out for people to see? Look, it's my son's heart and love and generosity. You have to see past some of the ugly faces he put on when he was a teenager and a confused adult, underneath that is the sweetest heart.

2 comments:

ariadnetaige said...

Vanessa,

I moved my blog over to another site: http://ariadnetaige.wordpress.com/ -- it's a work in progress right now, but it will eventually contain a combination of personal and professional posts...

Contra Yogini said...

Such a lovely story about your son :)