I like to think I’m a juxtaposition of a person I can be soft and gentle with my words and actions, and tough and hard when I feel I’m wronged. I was raised to be strong, speak my mind, and stand up for myself. My parents recognized a tenacious spirit in me when I was very young. I have been a right fighter most of my life. Now I ask myself do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?
As a child I could stay awake for hours on end while my poor Mom was sleep deprived and living on pots of cast iron tea to function. This is when four tea bags are added to a tea pot and left to steep all day. My Dad worked long hours as a logger and he would be up getting ready for his work day at midnight. I would still be wide awake partying in my crib.
He would come into my room and tell me it was time to go to sleep and I would wail even louder. As I got older his attempts to put me to bed became more futile as I had language and comprehension. I would say “Daddy you just go away and mind your own business!”He would walk out shaking his head and say “that bloody kid is lucky she’s cute!”
These are the memories I store in my memory box in my mind. My parents died awhile ago and pictures I have in my memory bank are all I have left. I rely on my older siblings recounts of my childhood and a box of slides to preserve these precious moments in time. I remember when I was young how much I loved to set up the projector to have a slide show as all the happy times came to life on the white sheet pinned to the wall of the living room. The pictures would paint a lively account of the trips we took, birthday parties, baseball games, weddings, and church events.
Now I store my memories in a special box that keep on my beside table. Inside are pictures of my loved ones,their funeral Mass cards, poems, prayers, and trinkets that they gave me. I have the first story that I ever wrote with my Mom and the first song I wrote for her. I have my Dad’s pins from Lion’s club that he was proud to be a member of for over 30 years. I have a pair of earrings and necklace set from my Gram and Grandpa that they gave me for my graduation, and a old travel sewing kit of my Grandpa’s from the war.
Each time someone I love passes on I add to this little box. It helps me perserve the love I have for them and keep them alive in my heart. I take them out from time to time when I’m feeling low and in need of a lift from angel wings. I hold them, absorbing the love, energy, and every precious memory I have of my time with them. I feel comforted through my tears as they overcome me with emotion flooding my thoughts, feelings, and actions.
This little box is my gift I give to myself to pick me up when I stumble and forget how to fly.
This is a special keepsake that I can pass down to my children when it’s my time to have the special things I’ve given them to place in that box. I’ve written them letters of how I became their Mom and the joy that they have given me with that privilege. As for now I open that box and lovingly hold those memories close to my heart so I will never forget the people who made me who I am today with their presence in my life. I thank them for the gift of their love, light, and guidance.