Posts Tagged With: memories

I wanted to share the stories

Tuesday last I went to the PO to send out all the photos I sorted for my friends and family.
I sent five large first class envelopes, three bigger priority mail padded envelopes, and one big priority mail box.

The first text came from my cousin Chris at 11:32 Thursday morning.

Bless you Robyn! Bless you. Just got the pics you sent me. Brought some much needed happiness, and a tear to my eye. Love you.

The second text came the same day at 5:02 from his sister.

I got the pictures. Thank you so much. Perfect timing Chris is coming over tomorrow.

The third text I got was from Sally at 5:11 Thursday afternoon.

Who are the other two folks?

I got Nicole’s text at 3:24 on Saturday.

We are loving all the pics! Thank you!

At 5:40 this came from Kristen. She taught second grade to both my girls. When Thing 2 was in her class, she had her first child. We saw them frequently. With the aid of social media we stayed in touch all these years, and she was here to celebrate with us last summer at the party for Baby K!

What a surprise!!!! Thank you!!!

He’s checking himself out (heart emoji)

I heard from Becca later Saturday evening at 8:18.

OMG!!!! Loved it!!! Thank you (with a bunch of smiley heart emojis)

Sundance got quarantined away from home, so her package is at her house waiting for her.

And the big box was delivered to the Things father, but I haven’t heard anything. I mean, not that I expected to. But I keep thinking, now I regret being kind to you.

Thing 1 said, “Momma, never regret being kind.” and she’s right.
None of these packages were about me. About the response I got for sending them.

I sent photos to my friends and family because I wanted to share the stories.
Their kids were babies in some of these photos. The stories of their whole young lives caught in these images. I wanted to share those stories, those memories with their families.
I absolutely adored going through these photos. The stories they told came back in vivid detail. Jogging my memory of other stories. I spent a few days reliving my daughters young lives. It was a sacred place to be.
It was also bittersweet. This part of our lives is past. And dwelling too long there would be less precious and more painful with every passing moment.
The time I spent revisiting my life, the lives of the people I love was a beautiful gift. I’ve sent off photos to my friends and family so they can revisit their own journeys. I find myself ready to once again look forward.

I’m pleased to be finished with that portion of the process. I look forward to the time when I can be with each of my girls and go through their boxes of photos. Sharing memories, stories, laughter, and maybe even tears.
In the meantime, I have the last two boxes. These are more photos from my past. Some of me as a child. Some from the collections of my parents and grandparents.
They feel less fun to me. Though, I remain hopeful that I’ll find pics that tell a story I don’t remember. Or one the girls don’t know so I can share with them.

I do still have a box of photo CDs to add to one of those external hard drives. Though, I’m not in a big hurry to get after that. I need a break from my life as a young mother. I don’t want to feel that bittersweet feeling. That pull of the past.

Those CDs will be there. Sitting in that box. Waiting patiently until I’m ready.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

knowing and telling of stories

In case you were wondering the status of the great and arduous process, here’s an update.
This is what It looked like when I finished through 2002.

Each of those boxes was chock full of photos.
I finished the preliminary sort and purge, and returned to those boxes only the photos about which I wanted to share stories. Or photos I wanted the girls to be able to decide what to keep and what to purge.
There are five finished boxes, in those boxes, I sorted the pictures into the following categories.
Thing 1 only
Thing 2 only
the Things together
me
Mommie, Daddie, and Grandaddy (yeah, all in one box, but I only had five)

Of course then I had to bring the rest of the boxes upstairs.

At this point, I’ve gotten through 2004. I haven’t looked at photos since Saturday last. I needed a break this week.
As I sort, if it’s for one of my girls, I write the year and who’s in the pic on the back. First and last names and where the photo was taken if I know. That’s to help jog their memories.

In addition to sorting out photos for the girls, I’m setting some aside to be sent to other people. My intent is to box these up and put them in the mail just as soon as I finish the initial sort and purge. I’m only writing the date on the backs of these.

From left to right, these stacks will be sent to the following people:
Becca
Nicole
the next two are for my cousins
Brooke
Sundance
Sally
the Things father

Grandaddy was on each of these ships.
Either in WWII or Korea.
With a teeny bit of research, I was able to verify which ship was which and label accordingly.
This Golden Dragon thing was kind of cool, I just wish I knew more about it.

I have all his Navy information in a container in the basement. I’m hoping to connect each ship with his time on it, as well as locate his ribbons, dog tags, etc. and compile all that information in one place. For what purpose? Well, in the meantime, just for me. If at some point Thing 2 wants it, yay!, if not, equally yay!, it’s her choice.

It’s interesting to learn more about the man who raised me. He never talked about himself, or his life. As far as we knew, he didn’t exist until the day I was born. He was simply Grandaddy. My mom didn’t talk about his life either, or her own. I grew up knowing practically nothing about the people who raised me.
I tried to do that differently when I became a mom.
I want those girls to know who I am and why. That in addition to being their Momma, I’m a girl. A human being with thoughts and feels and plans and dreams and a sense of humor and flaws. And love.
Knowing and telling each other’s stories is so important!

I’m planning to go back to the photos this coming week.
But today, YBW and I are going to set up the porch! After his cleaning and protective sealing of the porch a couple weeks ago, I purposely waited. I wanted to let the pollening happen before we set it up for porch life. But I’m tired of waiting! I’m looking at the oak trees and realize I simply don’t have the patience to outlast them.
We’re going to set up rugs and furniture and umbrellas today.
Then I’ll be able to go out and porch life whenever I please!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

what story is more important than this

These are the thoughts that hatch as I go through seventy plus years of family photos.

It comes down to being the last living person who has any real understanding of some of these photos, and people. My girls knew my parents, but only in the capacity of children. They didn’t know Grandaddy at all, even though Thing 2 is named for him.

I’m trying to pare down photos of my Grandaddy, mom, and dad, and keep only what tells a story. And then share those stories and let Thing 2 decide how she’s going to proceed. I don’t want her to have to sift through photos and wonder who’s who. Who’s important. Or that she should feel obligated to keep them without being able to answer those questions.
I don’t want her to feel guilty about parting with anything she doesn’t like, want, or understand.

I’m being mindful about each photo I touch. I’m saving much more than I’m actually inclined to, simply because I want to give Thing 2 the opportunity to touch these same photos and see if they mean anything to her.
One example is a letter my great uncle sent to Grandaddy and my grandmother in 1948. My mom was about to celebrate her 3rd birthday and my great uncle was sending pics of being in the army. That was what actually initiated the four and a half hour call to Thing 2. I’m saving all correspondence for her now, so she can see the handwriting and photos and make her own choices.

This process is helping me feel close to my family, but also picking at the scab of grief.

My Grandaddy died in 1992.
I miss him every single day. Not purposefully, it’s just there. A part of me. In my skin. It’s comforting and a sad at the same time. He has always been a part of me and always will. He was my first love. The one who helped me see that love didn’t have to be cruel and conditional.

My mom died in 2011. Mostly I’m relieved I can’t disappoint her anymore. But there are times when I miss the idea of her. Sometimes you just want your mom, even though you know she won’t actually bring you any comfort.
A part of me wishes she could see Thing 1 be Baby K’s mom. But only as long as she kept her criticisms to herself.

My dad died in 2014.
I miss him. The relationship we were building in the last few years of his life. After he came out he was different. Like, he had spoken his truth and could breathe freely for the first time in his life. He loved YBW and was building a strong friendship with him. He was becoming a wonderful grandfather to nearly adult girls and they loved that. I find myself still thinking, Oh! I should call Daddie and tell him…

Going through these photos is helpful.
I feel that twinge of missing them. But I feel peaceful in that.
Seeing pics of Grandaddy in his whites. Or wearing a red wig and making crazy faces.
Or my parents when they were young and actually thought they loved each other.

I want to share as many stories with Thing 2 as I can remember! I want her to know her family.
I’ve got a million photos of me as a little girl, teen, etc. I look so forward to sharing those stories with her!
However arduous this process may be, I’m so joyful to be going through it.

I look forward to sharing stories with her about her childhood. The ones she doesn’t remember. I’m hopeful seeing and touching these photographs will trigger some of them for her. If not, I’ll tell her everything I can remember.

Thing 1 said it wasn’t as much that she didn’t care about the photos as it was she didn’t want to go through thousands of photos to find the six she wants. I’ve solved that problem for her. She can go through hundreds to find the six she wants. I want to share stories with her too, but she remembers so much more than Thing 2 simply because she has three more years of life.

I found this photo of me. Homecoming 1989 maybe?

I sent it in the girls group chat and said, Hey, your momma was kind of a hottie.

How’s that for a story?
Is it only with the power of hindsight we begin to truly see? To truly understand?
I don’t know. But I want to share these stories and these photos with the people I love. I want them to be meaningful and maybe even powerful.
This is us.
This is our life.
This is our history.
What story is more important than this?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

our revels now are ended

My precious husband has joined me in the least cool club on the planet.
The Orphan Club.
We are adult children with no living parents.
Please send him healing love.

YBW’s darling mother died quietly in her sleep Wednesday afternoon. She was 87 and lived a life full of love and joy. In her last few years, she suffered with CHF (congestive heart failure) and her health declined rapidly in the last six weeks.

Today we went about dealing with the business of death. YBW, his brother and his wife, and I met with the funeral director and cemetery personnel. I used my mad organizational and list making skills to plan and coordinate. It’s my way of being helpful.

Tomorrow is YBW’s birthday.
We’re keeping our plans for dinner with friends in the evening, and celebrating with his boys Saturday afternoon. He deserves to be celebrated in the midst of our grief.

He is brave and strong, even though he doesn’t feel like he is. I watch him. I see what he experiences written on his face, in his body language. He is exhausted. He is anxious. But he is grounded in the love of friends and family. And he is grounded by me.

Our family is feeling quiet in our grief, but the love coming at us is truly overwhelming in the most beautiful way.

I am reminded of Prospero’s words in The Tempest:

You do look, my son, in a moved sort,
As if you were dismayed. Be cheerful, sir.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
Yes, indeed.

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

remembrance of snow days past

Yesterday’s snow day got me thinking about all the snow days I’ve had the joy to live through.
From snow days with my girls to snow days when I was a girl.
Curiously, the memory that took my breath away was of a snow day in 1979.
I was seven years old in February, my eighth birthday would come in May. A crazy storm came out of nowhere and buried the DC Metro area in over two feet of snow.

President’s Day Storm 1979
photo copyright: Washington Post

This was a bomb cyclone storm too, (Though I think it was before that phrase was in the common lexicon.).
This storm was of great significance, mostly because everyone was caught off guard. It also directly impacted the way meteorologists predict storms.

But for this particular little red-haired girl, who dug tunnels to access an elaborate system of housing (caves) in her yard, drank her body weight in hot chocolate, and impatiently waited for her gloves to dry before she could go back out to play again, the President’s Day Storm had a different kind of significance.
It’s the first time I can recall actively panicking.
Because the storm hit us out of the blue, after a couple of days, we ran out of important things. You know…milk and bread, and the like.


My mother decided to walk the .6 miles (uphill) to our local Safeway to get what we needed. As you can see, according to Google Maps it’s about a 12 minute walk from home to the grocery store. I figure that was pretty much the same 38 years ago as it is now. House is in the same place…even the same Safeway.

Now, in hindsight, I wonder if she wasn’t just trying to get out of the house and away from us kids and Grandaddy. Since there’s no one left to ask, I guess we’ll never know.

I’ve only recently come to understand my childhood of being a “mommy’s girl” that didn’t feel comforted by her mommy was directly linked to my attachment anxiety. That I clung to my mother in desperate desire to feel connected to her, even though I very rarely did.

When I started my little jaunt down memory lane of snow days, I first visited the amazing tunnels and caves my brother and I built. Saw the snow packed down from flipping ‘skin the cat(s)’ about seven hundred thousand times off the big strong limb of the maple tree. And actually, if I think about it, that may have been how we decided to created the cave and tunnel system.
But then as I jumped over the fence (couldn’t open the gate for all that snow) to visit the forts we carved out of the snow against the fence, I felt my eyes drawn towards the church at the end of our street.
I actively watched up the street for what seemed like hours in a panic waiting for my mother to come home.

I am actively feeling that panic in the pit of my stomach as keenly now as I did at that snowy day.

Of course I have no idea how long my mother was actually gone, how long I stood there anxiously awaiting her return. What felt like hours could have been a much shorter amount of time. I honestly don’t know. I haven’t consciously thought about that day and the way I felt in ages.

What I do know is that when I finally saw my mother turn the corner onto our street, grocery bags strapped to the sled she pulled behind her, I was flooded with the greatest relief I’d ever know.
I ran up the street towards here, crying and gasping for breath.
The look on her face stopped me in my tracks, snowy mittens immediately wiping my face before she noticed my tears. But it was too late. She’d seen them, and had not patience for them.
She said, “What’s the matter with you?” in a tone laced with such disgust it was almost a physical blow.
“I was worried about you. I didn’t know when you were going to come home. I didn’t know if you were safe.”
She shook her head and moved passed me, “Of course I’m safe. Don’t be so dramatic.”

I stood in the street watching her walk away from me. In that moment I felt so small and so terribly stupid. Of course she was safe. She was the mommy. Mommies are strong and capable. I was stupid to worry about her. I was too dramatic with my tears and panic.

I’ve never shared this story before.
Honestly, I haven’t thought about in…well, probably ever. But that’s the memory upon which I landed when I started thinking about snow days.
Not the fun we had as kids.
Not the fun we had as adults with our own kids.
Not the sledding, the snowmen, the bonfires.
Not the snow cream, the snow angels, the hot chocolate.

But I did have fun snow days as a kid.
With a frozen nose and shrieking laughter.
With snowball fights at the church yard and sledding at the park.
Snuggled up with my kitties under colorful ‘afgans’ in cozy jammies and stacks of books.

And I did have fun snow days as an adult.
Witnessing the girls in the snow for the first time.
Bundling everyone up for very quick trips to play.
Taking their photos with the some of the most fun snowmen you’ve ever seen.
Making snow cream.
Making hot chocolate by the potful.

I don’t honestly know if more of my memories are happy than sad. But I do know I go through the happy ones more frequently. I do know that this particular sad one was buried as deep as the snow from that long ago winter.
As far as I’m concerned, snow days are always a good thing!
Our county schools called off Friday just before 5 pm Thursday afternoon. So that means another snow day today!
Even though there really isn’t any snow, I’m still happy!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

the gift of memories

Saturday marks the fourth anniversary of my mom’s death and it’s got me thinking about a lifetime of memories. I’ve written about my complicated relationship with my mother in missing Mommie, but today I’m not thinking about the unanswered questions.
Today I am simply remembering her. Remembering specific moments with her. Sometimes I feel like I’ve done her a disservice by talking about my conflicts with her, with my feelings about her, and not talking about the memories. Because even though the conflicts were many, the memories are too.

Fox in Socks is my all time favorite Dr Seuss book because of her. I was either in kindergarten or first grade, my brother was three or four. She sat with us to read this book, got tongue twisted beyond our imaginations and we laughed until we were collapsed in a heap in the floor.
She never read it again, but laughed about that moment for the rest of her life.

I learned to love Elvis because of her. She would play records and we would dance and sing until we were worn slap out. These moments were rare, seeing her be joyful simply for the fun of it. She never let herself go, always kept a tight reign on her emotions. Even then these little moments were sacred to me, I understood without really knowing how precious they were.

She never read us bedtime stories, she didn’t like to read aloud. Instead she would often use dolls or action figures to tell us stories at bedtime. My brother would scoot into my bed ready for the story. Sometimes she used my brother’s Weebles, or our Fischer Price people to tell the stories. But my favorite stories always starred I our bendy Evel Knievel and Derry Daring figures.
evel knievelderry daring
(Is it just me or were toys cooler in the 1970s than they are today?)

I would become distraught (I am in no way exaggerating.) when Grandaddy would get on an airplane to go on a trip. I would stand at the gate waving at him through the window until the plane took off and then I would completely loose my mind. I was all tears and hyperventilation and the way she had decided to console me was to take me to Toys R Us for a color book and new box of crayons. And even as an adult, I would receive a new box of crayons and a color book any time there was something serious going on. When I went to have my hysterectomy I got the big box of 64 and five brand new color books. She wanted to make sure I enough to keep me occupied.

After I was already married but before Thing 1 came along, she and I went on a road trip and documented it with video. I laughed more with her in the car those four days than I can even believe! We were positively punchy but it all made sense. I don’t know what ever happened to that old vhs tape, I wish I had it though. It would be fun to laugh with her again.

My memories of my mom are a gift. All the memories, the good ones and the complicated ones. I’m lucky to have them. I was lucky to have her. I’m not sure if I told her that. I know she knew because moms just know those things, but it might have been nice to say it out loud.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

what the praline started

This morning one of the little students in the other two year old class brought me a praline from New Orleans. How kind of her family to think of me, she was very excited to make sure I got it. Precious!

I realized two things when I ate it after lunch…
The first is: it isn’t as yummy as the ones they make on Market Street in Charleston.
The second is: I miss Charleston… which makes me miss my beloved sister in law and her family, and my dearest friend and mentor.

Charleston is a place I dearly love…mostly because of the time I’ve spent there with people I love…

Thank you, little student for the (not delicious) praline and the wonderful memories it stirred up. I’m smiling about all my wonderful Charleston adventures, and a little bit of extra loving the people I love who live there.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(love can be both) right-way-round and upside down

I taught a lesson plan earlier this week from a book called ‘Henry and Amy (right-way-round and upside down)’.

henry and amy

This is a book about friendship, specifically a friendship of opposites attracting and helping each other see the beauty of right-way-round as well as upside down.
I used this book in my month-long lesson plan revolving around manners, friendship, and being helpful. We’ve been discussing “good manners”, you know, please and thank you and as one of my precious friends points out, I’m sorry. I’m not as big a fan of I’m sorry…but I’m working with what I’ve got.
We’ve also been discussing helpful hands and feet…did you know helpful hands hold doors for friends or helpful feet don’t kick books?
My little friends do! It’s been a fun and interesting process and I think they’re finally starting to really understand because our director held the door for us this afternoon as we went outside to the playground and one friend said, “Look! Miss Brynn has helpful hands!” And then I heard a chorus of “thank you(s)” even from one little dude who was so busy thanking her he walked into the doorjamb.

‘Henry and Amy’ was one of Thing 2’s favorite books when she was a little girl, she and I would read it over and over with hugs and giggles.
Oh how I wanted to call her when I got home to tell her all about it…but I didn’t.
I’m being respectful of her feelings. I’m acting upon her request.
Golly it was hard. I wanted to share that day with her in ways I don’t even yet understand and I honestly believe she would have loved it.

But here’s the thing: it didn’t hurt.
Yes I was sad, but the memories of Thing 2 and ‘Henry and Amy’ were happy. They moved me into my higher brain…where I was safe and happily swimming around in memories of my sweet little girl.

It was a great day!
It was a great lesson plan.
The activity that followed reading the book and our discussion was spectacular, and when we met again to read the book after the project was finished, my little friends were invested in ‘Henry and Amy’ and they’re beginning to understand the value of helpful friends.

And one day…one day…when she’s ready, I will be happy to share the experience of this day with Thing 2.

Categories: education, love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

Debs Despatches

Writer, Reader, Photographer & Random Scribbler

Some Drunk Blogger

Please Drink With Me While Reading

Snippets of SnapDragon

Welcome to my cauldron of creative musings.

Encouragement for you!!

Need some encouragement--read this!!

To Write or not to Write and What to Write

#shortstories #thoughts #reflections

The Jane Doe Byline

When it comes to stewed prunes, are three enough or are four too many?

Thinker Boy: Blog & Art

by Troy Headrick

Invisibly Me

Life With Chronic Invisible Illness

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

Life and Random Thinking

An old dog CAN blog

charles french words reading and writing

An exploration of writing and reading

I am Kat...

My Journey...

Self Love Coffee

read. sip. heal.

A Question of Lust

"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Sawblades In Your Walkman

effervescing with muchness

History Tech

History, technology, and probably some other stuff

Tales from the mind of Kristian

Visit the darkest crevices of my mind, dare to tread where many fear to go. You may find something interesting or you may find a mirror to your soul.

walkingtheclouds

where the clouds may lead

Meditations in Motion

Running and life: thoughts from a runner who has been around the block

Winter1137's blog

Social anxiety, depression and a cat obsession. The fun never ends.

%d bloggers like this: