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day 8: to the T

February 9, 2011

I have so much stuff.

I mean, not like empty-Twinkies-boxes-stacked-on-top-of-1992-tax-returns-in-my-foyer stuff, not like 463 back issues of National Geographic magazine stuff, not like “Hoarders” stuff, but…

I confess:  I like to shop.  I have a lot of necklaces.  I have a lot of handbags.  I have a lot of earrings.  And I have one neck, two shoulders, and four holes in my ears.  Even if I live to be 95, I am never going to wear all of this stuff often enough to justify its existence in my bureau.

I also have a lot of nieces.  Fifteen, at last count, ranging in age from 18 years to just-barely-born.  They are the closest I will get to having daughters, I cherish them, and I don’t get to see any of them nearly as often as I would like to.

Do they want my used crap?  Who knows.  Are they going to get it?  You betcha.

In thinking about the most equitable way to to unload my bounty on my young relatives, I decided that I should gift my eldest niece first and then go on down the line, once or twice a week, as long as my math holds up.  What do you think?

I offer three caveats before beginning this process:

1).  I will only give to my nieces things that I consider valuable, and I will give these items happily.

2).  I recognize that the distance between what I consider valuable and what they want is likely vast (let’s face it:  I’m old).

3).  Once an item has been given, its fate lies solely in the hands of the recipient (or parent of recipient).  If one of my nieces wants to sell, burn, flog, give away, or otherwise besmirch an item I send her, she should do so guiltlessly.

Here we go, then.

Niece 1, T, is eighteen years old and my first unsuspecting recipient.  A few things about T:

  • she speaks intelligently and boldly about social causes
  • she exhibits enviable patience (example:  on Christmas day when T was seven years old, her dog had a medical emergency… T waited five hours to open her presents from Santa while the adults dealt with the dog crisis AND she never complained)
  • she is someone I just love hanging out with

T also has great personal style.  When she visited over the summer we went shopping together, and her tastes tended toward Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.  She is one of those girls who is ridiculously beautiful and probably won’t realize it until she looks back at pictures of herself in ten years.

So what does an uncool old lady give her edgy teenaged niece?

When I was a sophomore in college — close to T’s age — I had a good friend, Nitin, who regularly borrowed one of my silver rings to wear on his thumb (ah, yes, 90’s grunge fashion rears its ugly head).  Before he left to spend a semester abroad in France, he offered to buy me a ring on his trip in exchange for my silver thumb ring.  He returned with this:

Parisian poison ring

It is what’s called a poison ring, as it has a flip-top lid for (presumably) poison.  It’s quirky and I think it might be something T would wear.  More than that, this ring is evocative of a sweet, wide-open time in my young adulthood — a time upon which T herself is about to embark. 

Have you hung onto things like this?  Things that remind you of riding in the back of a jeep with “Linger” by the Cranberries playing at full blast, or staying up late to drink bad coffee and debate religion?

I am so fortunate that I still have my friends from that time to hang onto — I don’t need stuff.  I feel certain my old friend Nitin would be happy to know that his ring will find a home with another girl poised on the brink of a beautiful and uncharted life.

Maybe she will go to France.  If she does, I hope she brings me a ring.

I hope today brings you everything you’ve hoped it would.  Thanks for showing up.


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