Sunday, August 6, 2017

A hope chest or preparing for the future


By the time I was a child, hope chests were going out of fashion.  A couple of friends with old fashioned families still had them, but they weren't filled with a trousseau or household items. they were simply places to keep cherished items.  I used a hope chest to accumulate household items that I bought in preparation for leaving home.  I'm thinking about them again.

My oldest child starts high school in two weeks.  I find myself thinking a lot about his future.  What will he be?  How much longer will he be with us, up close and in our home? What do I want to send with him when he, inevitably, leaves this home and makes his own?  What does he most need from his parents?

My husband and I have always intended to send the boys off with certain things like a good watch, a book on how to dress for occasions, a straight razor, and a few other useful items. My daughter is too small to even think about her future beyond potty training her. Now, the list of things I'm thinking of has expanded to things that are connections between him and us and things that will useful: a book of recipes that he loves, an etiquette guide, a pair of nice glasses for sharing a drink with his special someone, the formula for the aftershave I make him, a scrapbook, and a journal.  I'm sure, as time goes on, that I'll think of other things I think my children need when they leave home, and they will be just as useful, yet weird as what I've already come up with.

I can't keep my children little forever, and I don't want to. Time is moving fast, and I want to be prepared.  I want to help my children step into the world as prepared as I can make them, with joy, and a solid, happy foundation to build on.  Preparing for the future, while not expecting too much from it, is all we can do in a world that is frequently inexplicable, random, and full of possibility.

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