When Objects Mean So Much More

So I wore a headband to work today which is a rare occurrence – I never do anything to my hair besides blow dry it. But it reminded me of a fad from elementary school, when I actually cared about styling my hair. Remember these butterfly clips?

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Oh my goodness – if you grew up in the late ‘90s, you had to have these butterfly clips in every color. For me, these clips have a little more sentimental value than for most other people.

In first grade, I met a girl named Arielle. Arielle absolutely adored butterflies, and we instantly became friends. We had frequent sleepovers – we’d gush over the Hanson brothers, play piano together, go swimming, set up forts in her dining room, play with her Beanie Baby collection, or spend hours on her computer playing a Rugrats game on a CD-ROM. These are just a few of my memories with Arielle.

For almost our entire friendship, Arielle was battling a rare cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma, which later took her life at the age of 12. She was in and out of chemotherapy and would often be on crutches or in a wheelchair. One thing I will never forget is when Arielle made the honor roll and was called up to the stage to receive her award. In front of the entire school, I pushed her in her wheelchair up to the stage. The other kids stared, many of them not understanding her condition. But I was proud of my friend, and it was my honor to be beside her in that moment. I didn’t care who was looking.

Kids being kids, another thing our classmates didn’t understand was why Arielle had no hair. She had the most beautiful blonde hair, and it had all fallen out. But that didn’t stop Arielle from being a normal 8 year-old girl. She wore a headband that was completely adorned in these butterfly clips, and she looked beautiful.

This is a perfect example of how even the smallest object or instance from the past can bring back a personal memory. Things are more than just things – we associate objects with people, places, or passions that we once or still love. I’m a firm believer in looking back and reminiscing often to keep a memory alive.

Rest in peace, my dear friend.

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