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What To Do With A Blue Tutu

Several years ago, my brother and his wife sold their house and built a new one. Evidently, I forgot about the massive amount of time and energy required, because a few months ago we sold our house and I’ve been moving ever since.

Many years ago, soon after my mother died, we moved into the house my parents built and we’ve been there ever since. The house was built in 1974, the year I graduated from high school. It takes a while to sort through 33 years’ worth of belongings.

Some of the boxes in the storage rooms hadn’t been opened in years. I had to examine each item and decide whether to pitch it, keep it, give it away, or take it to the consignment shop.

I tried to be ruthless and get rid of as many items as I could. I tried, but I didn’t always succeed. I opened up a small box and found my daughter’s blue tutu. As I held it in my hands, I was transported back in time. Rachel was the smallest 5-year-old in her dance class, and the most stubborn, according to her instructor. She was the only dancer to ever refuse Miss Becky’s request to take a bow after a performance. A little girl had pinched her and she was too busy pouting to make a curtain call. My mother was with us that night; within a few months, cancer would take her life. I can still see Mom’s face flushed with pride and delight when Rachel took the stage. Mom’s been gone 17 years, and last month my little ballerina got engaged. This summer she’ll be a bride.

I looked at the tutu. Pitch it, keep it, give it away? Easy decision: I put it back in the box. It doesn’t matter that it has no purpose and that no one but me will ever think it valuable.

A few days later, I was back in the attic going through more boxes when I found a small shoebox, taped shut. I opened it up, saw what was inside, swallowed hard, and fought back the tears. It was my red-sequined uniform, the one I wore to compete in a baton twirling contest when I was about 7 years old.

What do you do with a blue tutu? The same thing you do with a red-sequined baton twirler’s uniform. You keep them and remember.

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