I never realized how important it was. Or more to the point, how many times it would be handed down.
It was a little red Patagonia jacket. Size 3T. I bought it 40 years ago as a gift for my niece. She was an adorable toddler at the time. As it turned out, she was a bit too big for the jacket, so I gave it to my nephew. He wore it until his arms were so long that the navy blue cuffs hit him mid-forearm.
The jacket came back in time to keep my daughter warm in the German weather when we lived near Heidelberg after the first Persian Gulf War. She’s 32 years old now..
Over the years, most of my kids wore the little red jacket. Some wore it to harvest festivals in the German wine country. Others wore it as they played in piles of leaves in the Minnesota fall. One day I realized that the zipper had failed. I took it to a seamstress before I shipped it off to my cousin to keep her two kids warm during the “wintery” weather of Sacramento, CA.
And now, after all these years, the little red jacket is keeping my grandson warm after swimming lessons in Maryland.
The little red jacket is something that’s been handed down. Family by family. Kid by kid. Keeping little people warm and cute for decades.
So far, it’s worth keeping and sharing.
Worth the effort to repair and the time and energy to send it across miles.
We all receive hand-me-downs from others. Sometimes, they keep us warm and cozy.
Other times, they’re different. They’re messages that’ve been handed down for not 40 years but for generations. They’re sent to us by mothers, fathers, aunties and uncles - usually in an attempt to keep us whole.
Messages that say we need to hide from others so we don’t get hurt. That we need to perform in order to be loved. That we should protect ourselves by hiding our bodies if they’re not perfect. (Note: they’re never perfect.)
They’re messages of shame that are handed down to us to keep us safe.
We received these messages like hand-me-downs for the kids. Mother to daughter. Sister to sister. Generation to generation. If we’re not aware, we’ll hand them down, too.
Have you been getting stuff you don’t need? I think we all have.
Here’s my message:
When the stuff is good, fix the zippers.
When the messages are good, hold on to them.
But, when you’ve received something that leaves you cold Just ditch it.
Let it go.
You got this.
PS: If you need some help figuring out which stuff to dump, get on a call with me here: https://www.howtofixmysexlife.com/coffeedate.html