Part of the delicious anticipation of holiday celebrations is wondering what surprises were in the packages with my name on them. I held onto Christmas Magic for as long as I could—refusing to give in to any impluses or gentle nudges to “grow up”. I wasn’t about to stop hoping for something special to play with under the tree! Until the year I opened the big box and found…
LUGGAGE! Wait–I was a KID! There must be some mistake. Kids didn’t open big giant presents and find LUGGAGE inside! What was luggage anyway…just empty zip-up containers of air. WHAT??
Of course, I smiled and thanked the gift givers. My mom sensed my underlying alarm and reminded me that I was growing up and would appreciate having such a nice set of luggage one day. And of course, she was right. Gulp.
Since that Christmas, that luggage has crossed the ocean twice. It’s been tossed onto trains and sent on the conveyor belts of several planes. It’s been thrown in a pile underneath a bus every day for two weeks during a college choir tour across the US. It’s been unpacked and repacked in Wales, North Carolina, Charlottetown PEI, and Transylvania. The biggest suitcase has been carefully packed with clothes and personal items to last for a term of study abroad, and its sides have bulged with as many souvenirs as I could stuff in on the way home. It’s the kind of luggage that has wheels but no handle except a leather string to pull. It’s the kind of luggage that tips over every time you try to pull it. It’s the kind of luggage that looks as good now as it did the day I got it because it is so sturdy and reliable.
That luggage has accompanied me on my toughest challenges and greatest adventures.
Today I dropped my grown-up gift, holder of memories, wobbly-wheeled luggage off at Goodwill. It is more than 30 years old and I will never travel with it again. I have sturdier suitcases that stand upright and roll straight with a metal handle that folds into no space at all. It makes no sense to keep and store an old set of luggage that has no purpose. Perhaps someone else will take it on a new adventure.
But it was really, really hard to leave it behind there anyway. I think that luggage was a pretty amazing gift after all.