Cleaned out the medicine cabinet this weekend. Threw away my ex-husband’s cologne that didn’t have much aroma left. Threw out a jar of pinkish goop that a friend had given me for stretch marks. Tossed cough syrup and kid’s cherry-flavored Tylenol. Disposed of a broken thermometer and a half-used bar of soap in a baggie. Saved the bottle ylang ylang essential oil that I bought at the little Tibetan shop in Pike Place Market, circa 1992. Kept the mouthwash that I brought home from Vegas last month. Paused for a moment over these two items – an infant nasal suction that I think we used once unsuccessfully and a tube of diaper ointment that also went largely (entirely?) unused.
Really – my kids were babies and in need of such items just 10 years ago? Now, we have hair gel and acne medication, deodorant and tampons. For an instant, I thought of keeping these as some memorial of their tinier selves, but then thought of how I’d never save the Clearasil or maxi-pad for similar reasons. Bodies are bodies at whatever stage – ever changing and yet remarkably the same. My hands, looking so worn and old lately and with a twinge of stiffness settling in, are still the hands that changed their diapers, that did my own hair when I was in high school, that held my parents’ hands to cross the street. The same hands that reached for the ylang ylang in that musty shop and applied the cream to my stretched belly. The same hands that tied up the garbage bag and wiped down the medicine cabinet.