Kathy's New Book:
Life is a Kaleidoscope
Photo: Life is A Kaleidoscope

Beauty Is In The Eye of The Beholder

It never ceases to amaze me how children attach themselves to things for reasons only they can comprehend. When my youngest daughter, Katie, was a toddler she attached herself to an over sized yellow and orange blanket. She named it ree-ree and that quilted blanket never left her side. The only time I can remember actually getting permission to wash it was the day a container full of worms accidentally fell on top of it, worms that were food for her pet lizard. Katie eventually outgrew her frayed and faded remnant of youth. But, not too long ago I came across an old make-up bag and was surprised to find a cut off corner of this childhood comfort stuffed inside.

Now that my days are locked into a perpetual time and place of fairy tales and make believe, as a daycare provider, I find it fascinating the objects that children cherish. Baby Anna goes everywhere with 4 year old Kristen. Her wardrobe of baby dresses and other assorted dolly adornments is worth a small fortune. Though she's starting to show some wear and tear, to Kristen, baby Anna, is the cream of the crop as far as dolls go.

Her older sister Alexis cannot go anywhere without what she calls her fairy pillow. The fact that the stuffing is so thinned out it looks more like a bed sheet hardly makes a difference to her. She loves that tattered pillow and wouldn't trade it for the finest fluffiest princess pillow ever made. Some children have certain items of clothing they cannot part with no matter what form of bribery a mother will bend to. How well I can remember a little fashion queen wearing a pale aqua tank top with a palm tree on the front. She wore that shirt until we threatened to cut it from her rapidly growing 2 year old body.

I suppose we adults are just as bad at not wanting to let go of things we deem to be treasures. There are some things I could never think of throwing away. My husband calls me a pack rat. I would have to agree but only to a teeny-tiny extent. I've had body lotions lose their color and colognes lose their scent because I couldn't throw them away, even though their nostalgic aroma was no longer in vogue. There are certain prized possessions that we simply must hang on to. Trinkets and doo-dads that may look like trash to someone else because the sentimental attachment is not readily seen.

In my closet there hangs an ugly looking fanny pack. Wearing a fanny pack around your waist has long since been out of style but I cannot bear to let go of it. It hangs on a hanger, smashed between too many sweaters in my cluttered closet. It is blue with bright orange trim and the word 'BEARS' is stamped across the front. Over a decade ago Bill and I were lucky to acquire Bear's season tickets. This was back when Walter Payton, Tom Waddle, Dan Hampton and Trace Armstrong were the charismatic crew that crunched the competition on the football field.

The fanny packs were given out as a freebie at one of those games. That silly little purse is a reminder, to me, of cold winter nights when we'd bundle up like Eskimos for a Monday night game. Some nights we'd leave early and dine at a cozy little restaurant on North Avenue. The tables would all be glowing with the flickering of candlelight and outside the snow would be gently falling as we'd eat our dinner, enjoying the ambience. Then we'd make our way to Soldier's Field, never minding the cold all that much what with all the screaming and cheering on our beloved Bears to keep us warm.

Trash or treasure, pack rat or memory collector. We all have our keepsakes whose meaning is known only to us. And that's the beauty found in the eye of the beholder.