By ALEXANDRA SMITH
Material things in life are not always the most important things for us, but in many cases, they have sentimental value. We treasure items that are dear to us or remind us of certain places or people. Sentimental items not only bring back memories, but also feelings and senses that touch a part of our hearts and bring back what was once lost. They can be anything from a diamond ring to a bottle cap, and are not always the most attractive items.
In our minds, it does not matter what they look like, because they are like pieces of us and, beautiful or not, they will always be there to remind of our past. I, too, have these tangible things in my life. I will always remember my grandparents by numerous items I have from them. Each has a different memory encompassed in its seams, grooves, wires and fabric. Each tells a story of a life, a moment, or a glimpse back in time and shows us priceless lessons attained. This is why these items define us, and make up our different parts of ourselves. And, even if the rest of the world never quite understands the reasons we love this item, inside ourselves we know this is the one thing that can awaken our souls and make us happy again. What are these tangible items in my life? Well, they are one picture, a simple pin and a single mirror.
It sits in the corner of a typical teenager’s room. It is not showy or glittery or one of those things that catches your eye at first sight. In fact, you might even think this photo does not have any sentimental value at all. Nevertheless, I was there. I might not remember this moment, but I was there. It is my favorite photo of my grandparents and all of my cousins. Taken when I was about four, it’s one of those photos that always hangs in your grandparents’ home. Every year when all the cousins gather ,we laugh and joke about how different we all look and act, but maybe deep inside we love that photo because it always reminds of the youthfulness and innocence we all had when it was taken. Even though we will never have a photo with our grandparents ever again, we know that just one is all we need. No matter how much older we get or how much different we look, the photo encompasses the same crazy and honest personalities best represented at that young age. Since there will never be another one, we cling to what we have in hopes that we never lose the naivety we had when we were young.
When we are little we are always asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” So often, we just shake our heads and the familiar “I don’t know” comes out. That is what always came out of me until one day, I had a special opportunity to listen to and be engulfed in a story about my grandmother and what life as a nurse was like. As I sat there and listened as she told me funny, saddening, loving and miraculous stories of her time as being a nurse, I realized what a passion she had for helping others in need, much like the flame inside me.
It was that moment I realized I wanted to be just like her. To have that fire inside that drives you to be the best, to separate yourself from the rest, and do what your heart tells you. When she passed away, we found her pin she wore to identify herself as a nurse. That pin inspired me to live out what she always taught me to be. Not necessarily a nurse, but someone who cares about people who cannot help themselves and maybe need you, not always your physical help but also your time and for you just to take a moment to listen. To her, patients were not just people who came in, were healed and left. They were friends, role models and learning tools to teach her lessons in life and show her things she might not have seen on her own. She related to them and took the time to get to know them. She influenced me to be more than what people expect me to be, and for that, I am forever grateful.
The gold metal twists and curves in the most beautiful ways possible. It is carefully formed and wonderfully made, fit for a princess. It hung in my grandparents’ living room. I always admired its dazzling presence and how it always seemed to make you look good no matter what you were wearing. Now it hangs in my room and reminds me to always consider myself a princess. Grandma and Grandpa always treated me like royalty. They loved me unconditionally and always knew just what would cheer me up.
As these items are what are special to me, I know you, too, have items like this. Take time to think about what they have taught you in life and how amazing these inanimate objects can be. To anyone else, these simple items are just three more pieces of my bedroom, but I know that within these items are pieces of me and of my grandparents that will never be forgotten. Think about what kind of impact you can make on this world and maybe one day someone in the future will have a inanimate object that reminds them of a lesson or a dream you instilled in them.