My mother is incredibly sentimental, saving everything having to do with someone she loves. She has the very first piece of artwork I did in kindergarten…well, perhaps I shouldn’t call it ‘artwork’. It was scribbles of each color crayon that I had. At any rate, nothing is too insignificant for her to save as a keepsake, and every keepsake comes with a story. It is a reflection of her sweet nature, and I honor it.

With this mindset, however, she doesn’t understand when I don’t want to keep everything. I, too, am deeply sentimental, but I choose to only hold onto things that are truly meaningful to me; my grandmother’s rolling pin, the buckeye she carried in her purse, and her straw fan; the antique bed that my mother was born in; the letters Mom has written to me, the myriad of photos that I have collected. I also cherish my own cache of memories.

Mom often talks about when she will be gone, and how I should keep her broken clock that is always at least two hours fast and chimes at odd times to remember her by, and I hesitate. I would never want to hurt her feelings, but the clock holds no family history, no special connection to my relationship with her. I don’t need a broken clock to remember my mother. Instead, I will cherish my memories. Memories of her laughter, her smiles, her stories, her stubbornness, her courage, her kindness, her fragility. I will remember the woman she was, and I will celebrate the parts of her I carry within me. Those are the keepsakes that are priceless, living forever in my heart.

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