Have you ever seen the movie Leap Year? It is a romantic comedy with the adorable Amy Adams (Anna) about a girl who goes to Dublin, Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on February 29th, but along the way she meets this other guy (Declan) who is opposite of everything that she is. Throughout the movie she is time and time again depicted as very materialistic with her Louis Vitton luggage and designer clothing. Little by little she loses or ruins those material items through a cute series of mishaps, but finds that she can really be happy without them. I'm sure you can figure out the rest, but in a nut shell the concept is that this new guy changes her outlook on everything and makes her see the world differently. While the rest of the story is really not relevant to this post, there is one thing that Declan asks her that has always stuck with me. In this one particular scene Declan asks Anna, "If there was a fire in your house and you only had 60 seconds, what would you save?"
So, lets set some ground rules before I share what I would save. First, I am going to say that all humans and animals are already out of the house. Obviously, I'd save Adam first and if Adam was safe then I would go for Kaiser. A life, be it human or animal, is sacred and I would never consider any object before something living. Secondly, 60 seconds would actually give you time to save a number of things, especially since I am sure that your adrenaline would be pumping and you'd be moving at super human speed. So, I am also going to stipulate that it can be only be one thing. Do you know yours? I know mine. Most items in your house can be replaced. TV's, furniture, computers, and clothing, So when I first heard the question I thought about my laptop with thousands and thousands of pictures on it. Pictures from many vacations, holidays, events, and even old family pictures of people who are no longer with us. While loosing all those pictures would be a devastating loss for me, there is one thing that I cherish even more and that is this.
This was my wedding gift to Adam. So why would I save something I gave him? Even though, I gave it him, most everything in this book is over 5 years of gifts that he gave to me. This is every note, card, item we made, or indicator from the beginning of our relationship of our love. When we first starting dating, I was only 17 and he was about to be 19. Needless to say, I was in high school with strict parents (Mom actually) so there was a lot of communication done late at night or over e-mail. Adam worked night shift at UPS so every night when he got off work he would write me an e-mail for me to read before school that next morning. I loved it!
I kept them all to have and read back time and time again. One of his e-mails from March 2004 says "Are you really gonna print all these out? I wonder how big the pile will be in five years. Think you'll have to get a whole book just for them? Well probably look back at it all when were both in our 80's and laugh at it all. I wonder what well be doing when were 80." So basically, that is exactly what I did. I printed them all out. I arranged them by date and I put in anniversary and birthday cards, tickets for events we had gone to, fortunes from fortune cookies, pictures, doodles and little mementos. I started the book with Adam's account of how he first heard about me, our first date, our second date and then his revisions since I told him some of his "memories" were a little mixed up.
This book contains five years of letters about our hopes and dreams of finally being able to have our own house and have a family. It contains apologies from fights we had, lyrics from songs that we love, and tickets from concerts and events we went to. It is a boring, mundane daily accounts of work and working on cars. It is sad memories of his Dad and the pain. It is simple I love you's written on scraps of cardboard and napkins. I can say without a doubt that this is my most cherished item.