Here I am, at my mother’s house, surrounded by walls full of my past – photos of my children, photos of myself and my sister… my deceased grandparents… there’s even one where my ex has been conspicuously cut from my left shoulder.
Volumes of scrapbooks sit on shelves, recording precious moments from our lives – my accomplishments, which used to define me, fade a little bit more with every passing year. The Redskinette calendar on the wall remains open to the month of January, 1989, with a full-length photo of a leggy 20-something-year-old girl with fabulous arms. I miss her body, but not her messed-up head.
Yesterday, we listened to casette tapes of voice mails left for my mother over the years. Ana, singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” in her tiny two-year-old voice, the Happy Birthday songs, and the “thank-you’s” for packages received in the mail. We heard my grandmother chastise my grandfather on their annual Florida trip in 1987, when he said a “bad word” on the recording. “Ray!” she said. “Someday you’re going to realize… someday you’re going to see just how much you cuss!” I laughed, and I missed my charming grandpa with the mischevious twinkle in his eye, and my grandmother, with her obsessive compulsion for a spotless kitchen. And I realized how important those short, seemingly irrelevent connections to my life were to my mother.
In 1987, my grandmother was the age of my mother today, and my mother was the age I am today. Time flies.
I am making connections of my own on this trip – connections to family and friends that unknowingly help me piece together my life story.
And it’s all wonderful.
I feel loved, and loving, and grateful for this earthy, puritan Midwestern upbringing which marked out my childhood and determined my value system of today.
I have so much more to say…