A few weeks ago, my husband and I took our kids to the beach for a few days. I played photographer as they happily skipped from one activity to the next. Taking photos is my foolproof excuse for avoiding anything that might be remotely unpleasant. This involves situations that require being cold, wet, or in the same vicinity as a reptile. This particular afternoon, it was crabbing. After I snapped photos of each of the kids in turn, I found myself reaching into my pocket in an effort to find the lens cap for the camera. I found the cap, but in the process I also found a pocket full of half broken shells and pebbles, a bottle of hand sanitizer, my husband’s watch and my daughter’s pink sparkle lip gloss. I looked at all of the things that I had unconsciously held onto and thought to myself, “Even my pockets aren’t my own”.
When I became an adult there were certain things that I believed were mine. My time, my money, my decisions. I expected that in time, with the addition of a spouse and a kid or two, some of my things would become less “mine” and more “ours”. I knew it would become our money, decisions would be ours to make, and my time would become a communal commodity. Fifteen years and three kids later, I can say that all of these things are true. None of these things are my own, and that apparently includes my pockets.
Before replacing the lens cap on the camera and beginning to re-pocket all of my family’s paraphernalia, I placed each item on the wooden railing and snapped a photo. As I looked at all of this seemingly inconsequential stuff, it occurred to me that each of those small things meant something to the person for whom I was guarding it. In my pocket, I held a little piece of my loved ones, tucked away for safekeeping. I held the shards of shells and smooth stones that my little girl lovingly picked from the sand because they were “pretty”. I held the hand sanitizer that was meant to keep my kids clean and healthy from any germs that might take a liking to them. I held my husband’s watch in an effort to keep it safe and out of harm’s way.
Isn’t this what we do as mothers and lovers and helpmates? We hold all of the things that are dear to our dearest, and make them a part of us. As I put the shells and lip gloss back in my pocket, I thought about all of the things I hold in my heart for these same precious ones, because my heart is no longer my own. It belongs to the dreams I hold for my children. It belongs to the desires that I have for their future. My heart belongs to my husband’s greatest hopes and wildest imaginations. It holds their every hurt, every want, and every need. I believe my heart is no longer mine, it is ours.
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