Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Remember

It's just that kind of morning.  The first of more pre-Autumn days that bring me back to places.  Some of those places are simply in my heart.  I wrote this piece as an assignment for a class called "Telling True Stories" a few months ago.  The classes expanded my writing ability while at the same time, demanded that I kept memories, good ones and bad ones, alive. It's what we do with those memories that makes us who we grow up to be and we never stop growing, do we?

I remember that my first born child had one crayon red hair in amongst his strawberry blonde locks and then two years later, my baby girl, one white one.  I remember both of their births as if they were yesterday and thinking how incredibly lucky we were to have babies.  I remember thinking that I would never return to my own life. I remember the look on Doris Kelly’s face when Josh read his own Kindergarten questionnaire to her. She remembered thinking of me “oh, no, not another one of those mothers….” I remember when she told me how wrong she had been to think that and how special my child was to her. I remember the day the kindergarten bus dropped Sara off for the last time, me hiding in the bathroom so I did not have to face it.  I remember her handing a notice to me that said “Welcome to the world of Brownie Scouting”.  I remember the first time we dropped them both off at their colleges, simultaneously emptying the nest.  I remember how I cried and cried. Smelling what I was sure was baby powder as I walked from room to room before taking to my bed…..for hours on end. I remember Patty calling to check up on me. I remember the Christmas Josh bought the music box for Kelley and the damper we somehow put on his beautiful plan to present it to her under the Christmas tree.It made me recall so painfully  the day we went to the flea market at his high school, ready to sell something, anything to make us some extra money. He was so excited and tried so hard to make it work. I remember the glass dish that the lady in the next booth gave to us, as a gift.She read our pain so well. I remember the day that the law school acceptance letter arrived, how I ran up and down the driveway of our townhouse complex, shouting and dancing.  I remember how it all came to an end when Kelley left Josh and did not remember to tell anyone it was the end of their college romance.  I remember hurting as if it had happened to Joe and I instead. A scholarship for the second year of law school, turned down by a broken-hearted solitary soul.  I remember Sara failing her first road test.  I remember Sara’s romances and her own heartbreaks.  I remember her anger at us for not having the money to pay all of her tuition to Boston University and having to use financial aid for her education.  I remember her reminding me of this in the middle of the street, in front of her then boyfriend who’s father was a millionaire. I remember how humiliated and angry I was. I remember the pride only a parent can feel when she was admitted to the Bar.  I remember mother-daughter vacations and the laughter.  I remember Josh, when he departed our home for what he thought would be his new life on the West Coast, leaving a note for us that simply said “I’m proud to be your son”.  I remember when both of my children loved each other, were best friends, and could be in the same room together for more than five minutes.  I remember how my heart broke into little tiny pieces when I found out that my son had developed a painful ingrown toe nail because he did not want to tell us he had outgrown his shoes.  I remember the same heart jumping for joy when Sara delivered the commencement address to her department at her college graduation, to all the other graduates of the school of liberal arts, so many of them free of the post-graduate college loan debts that she would be saddled with.  I remember the night Lucy was born, how again my heart was on a plate, my entire body wracked with fear, Joe pacing, sick with worry because we were told that “someone” would be down to talk to us soon…..until I was handed the surgical scissors and invited to cut the umbilical cord of my first born grandchild.  I remember watching  Sara nursing her and then again, Phoebe.  I remember Alston and Brookline and Waltham and now Sudbury, the homes she and Jeff created for their beautiful family. I remember all the kindnesses of my daughter in law, Lisa, visiting my dying mother all the while knowing that her own father was at the end of his life.  He died a week after my mother. I look at my son and look forward to his future successes but remember how very successful  he already is at being a fine man.  I remember every time I see my grandchildren, so happy and so on their way to being what they, too will become and I remember how proud I am of Sara’s parenting.  I remember so much more about so many things and wonder what life will be like when I don’t any longer…..remember. Do all of these things make me happy or will I be happier when I can remember to live in the moment and just allow what I remember to shape my future?  I just hope I will be young enough to enjoy it.

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