How does one define treasure? Let me count the ways…
Dictionary.com offers several definitions, the first two of which refer to precious metals, money, jewels, and the like. But, that restricts the choices to objects that have monetary value only.
I prefer number 3: “any thing or person greatly valued or highly prized.” This meaning allows for unlimited options, with value being decided by the individual, not society. At first I wasn’t sure what direction to go in. For me, the obvious choice of what I treasure most is family. But, there are many other things that I treasure, as well.
Take food, for instance. I have a greater appreciation for food today than ever before. Is it my age? I was a finicky eater as a kid, but am continually broadening my horizons as I grow older (sans raw meat.) Some of my happiest memories are of eating those favorite dishes in my favorite restaurants or my mother’s kitchen. Actually, my idea of the perfect job is to be a food critic. Fly around the world, eat in thousands of locations, and write about the experience. And people get paid to do this? Where do I sign up?
How about books? As I try to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle, books are things that I have a hard time parting with. I had to do it when I left PA for FL, but it wasn’t easy! I let go of all the fiction, keeping only a few selections that I hadn’t read yet. I also kept my college textbooks (for future job reference) and a couple favorite novels that I’ll keep forever.
Memories are treasures, too. I thought about taking a photo of picture albums and scrapbooks. I’ve spent hours putting these together (and have a lot more to do) and they mean the world to me, because they’re a look back into a past that is gone forever.
The same goes for the home movies. What’s more fun than seeing family and friends, from years ago, mugging for the camera. Especially those loved ones who are no longer with us. Or, seeing your children, now grown, as babies and toddlers? While the images are powerful enough, the sound of their little voices really resonate within my heart.
Speaking of heart, while I don’t own any expensive jewelry, I do have a couple pieces that mean the world to me. They were handed down and one day I’ll pass them on. I’ve included in this post a picture of the one that my children gave me last Mother’s Day.
It is a small, rather delicate, sterling silver ring with their birthstones. It’s not the price tag that makes this so meaningful, but who and what it represents. Each of these stones signifies the three best things I ever did. Not just the births themselves, but every moment that came after. Like many parents, I devoted much time and energy to raising them. Blood, sweat, and tears…literally. With the help of a supportive extended family, lots of love, and a little luck, they turned out pretty well. I’m very proud of the people they’ve become. They are my best work.
So, when asked to submit a picture that shows what we treasure, I thought about what is dearest to my heart and I chose the ring. Not for the metal or the stones, but because it represents their lives and all that they have brought, and continue to bring to my life. It represents the fact that through them a part of me and my work will live on. Of all the things I treasure, this legacy of love is the greatest and the only one that really matters.