I opened up my blue trunk today. My trunk that holds the things that mean a lot to me. I always find it to be such a strange and exciting moment. I go into it thinking that there are probably things I can get rid of now, seeing as I have changed over time, and yet I always surprise myself. It’s like discovering treasure. Some of the things I can hardly even remember until I’ve seen the little things hidden inside. I open up an old candy tin to reveal little trinkets I’ve collected over the years. I have a couple flag pins, from both Canada and Pakistan. There’s a squished penny from the dinosaur museum in Drumheller, which I can still remember begging my dad to let me buy. There’s a ‘dog-tag’ my senior class made when we graduated, a shield necklace with a verse on it, and an old plastic patakha dart that looks like it’s been through a lot of life. I look at each of them with a fresh wonder, and slowly put them each back into the tin. Everything is important, every little piece of memory.
Below the tin is a box of coins from all over the world – Middle Eastern, Oriental, South American and European. Some are sorted into plastic sheets by country, while others are in bags and little containers. Still others lie loose in the box. I suppose I couldn’t be bothered to put them into any kind of container at the time. The coins still intrigue me, and I find a few lying around I have collected recently and throw them in too, before closing the box.
In the trunk are my high school banners, an old shawl, an afghan scarf, a knife from nepal, a painted teapot, a couple picture albums and some other odd treasures. Inside a folder are old stories I wrote when I was younger, or pieces of them. There’s a little book I printed with my brother too. They make me smile as I see the little boy with a big imagination and huge hopes for these ideas. Now they sit in my blue trunk.
Below all these is a folder of papers. Page after page of old report cards, boarding reports and school awards. And as I skim through the pages, I can’t help but smile. Not only is it like walking through the life of a little boy growing up, but it’s as if I’m walking through the life of my parents, watching this little boy grow older in time. One report says of my little kindergarten self, “He understands basic concepts of size and shape, sorting, counting number recognition and measurement.” Another reads “Josh is ready for grade one work, which he should cope with easily.” I’m glad I made it into grade one. I feel that would have been a problem otherwise. Some of the comments are just downright hilarious. My P. E. teacher from my public school in Pakistan wrote “during P. T. display, the movement of your body was flexible.” Glad to hear it.
As I read through these forms I can’t help but think about my parents, and what they thought of this little boy, who was “quiet” but “enthusiastic”. I can’t even remember those days, or my thoughts and memories at the time. I smile as I see myself growing through the years. Thankfully I always did fairly well in school, so my reports are generally encouraging, but not all of them. There are the few that tell of the times when I was not very pleasant to have. One from junior high reads “Josh has shown little interest in being a part of junior high boarding life. He also has not happily joined in the organized weekend events.” I can remember those times. I can remember my attitude, and I can remember the people around me who were disappointed. But most of all, I can remember and imagine what it would have been like for my parents to read this about me. It makes me embarrassed even now. Thankfully it was a passing theme, and I soon grew to have a better attitude in school and boarding life, and to be the happy, hardworking boy that I once was.
All through these pages, time and time again, I see my parents love for me. Even the fact that they cherished all these reports, right down to my little kindergarten self, and filed them away for me to have later in life. I can’t get over how special my parents are, and how much they cared about me all through my years growing up and now today as well. They loved me through good and bad, and always pressed me to do better and to be better – not just at school, but in life and in my character. I can remember the talks we had when I wasn’t doing well and I had let them down, and I can remember their joy when I may them proud and did my best. But most of all, I can always remember the love.
Opening up my trunk is always a very introspective journey back into memories. Surrounded by these pieces of myself, and of my past, I seem to forget the present altogether. And it’s not until I happened to glance into a mirror and saw the bearded face of a twenty-year-old staring back at me, that I realized a lot of life has gone by, and that I’m not that little boy I’m reading about in the pages. And yet, I am somehow, because as I read through the pages, and hold that old white patakha dart, I almost feel as though I was eight again, putting these things in my old candy tin for the first time, because I loved them and I wanted to cherish them.
Mummy and Daddy, I just want you to know, once more, that I love you so much, and I’m so thankful for all the love that you have given me over the years.