I dont do leftovers</

Look inside a person's refrigerator and you will get a glimpse into their soul. Or at least their bad eating habits that they hide from everyone. When I was pregnant people who opened my refrigerator door were shocked to find no food therein. I didn't eat much due to the nausea. There was just no point in keeping food that would go to waste. Today, five years later, you still will not find much there. Sure, I have tons of fruits and vegetables and drinks. However, one thing you will not find are any leftovers. And that is most definitely a different state of being from my childhood.

Growing up we had to subsist on leftovers. There was not much money to buy big bags of groceries. My mom would do what many other mothers in the neighborhood would do. She would save up the used cooking oil. Waste not, want not. Leftovers were consequently considered tasty as they were a necessity. Also, the reused oil does give food an added zest. Probably not the healthiest thing in the word but the taste buds enjoyed it.

At an early age, I became a vegetarian and then had even less to eat and leftovers started losing their appeal. Little by little I left leftovers by the wayside. I now never get anything boxed at a restaurant unless there are known homeless individuals around that could use the leftovers. Last time we took leftovers home and actually ate them, ended up with gastritis. That was not a lively sight. Although, I still managed to get on a stage before 200 people and do my talk and act as hostess. Never let leftovers keep you down.

As I turned into an adult and left leftovers behind, I still felt a grand sense of loss and nostalgia. See, because I moved around a lot and couched surf, I didn't hold on to many possessions. For a while I had a trophy box I carried around with me. Eventually, however, it got too heavy. For it not only carried my trophies, medals and other awards, but it also carried my memories and weight of my childhood. At some point, it just became too much to hold onto.

I did manage to, and still do, hold onto a shoebox. In that shoebox I have my mom's letters to me throughout the decades starting when I went off to boarding school, continuing into my Spain adventure and into college and beyond. Letters between a daughter and mother can never be left behind. I tossed away trophies but those letters will never end up in a trash bin. I may even die holding onto them; perhaps embedded in that pile will be more recent letters between my son and I. Although, who knows what form of communication will exist then and if people even remember the art of handwriting at that point in time.

In that same shoe box, I have my childhood diary where I had noted my daily fears, needs and dreams. It is a little red book that once held a lock but no longer needs to be keyed away.

Once a year, I take that box out and lay everything on the floor where I sit cross-legged and reminisce. These leftovers from throughout my years, these leftovers from the different segments of my life, don't bring me down. Yes, my eyes mist. Yet that mist reminds me I have come far in life. That mist brings me closer to my mother even now that she is gone. Each year I attain new insight into who she was and what she did for me. Now as a mother myself, I re-read the letters in a new light.

Leftovers. Shattered remnants of something once good. Leftovers can propel one forward as long as it us not two-day old pasta with a touch of food poisoning. My refrigerator will remain empty but my shoebox shall overflow.