light the corners of my mind.
Misty watercolor memories,
Of the way we were.
- The Way We Were, Barbra Streisand
I am currently going through old, tattered, mostly black and white
photographs stored carefully in an old leather suitcase with well-loved straps and slightly tarnished buckles. Picture after picture brings a wash of memories. Just as the suitcase was buckled tightly so nothing would fall out, the memories and stories were safely secured in that valise so they wouldn't be forgotten.
It's a new year, yet the past is not far behind. When you gaze around our home almost everything in it carries a story.
Yet these often grainy, thank heavens not HD quality photographs, capture a time when things seemed more simple.
Nostalgia, it seems, is a part of our daily conversation these days. So often something jogs our story. It all starts with...
Stories of dear ones here and dear ones gone. Stories of those not- so-dear. Yet even with time the memories of the not-so-dear ones fade into how sad we are that they lost their way. How we wish they had been loved as a child and not neglected. How things might have been different if they had felt wanted.
Hurt often recreates itself when people don't feel seen, valued or wanted. You can see the pain etched in faces of those old school photos.
Yet most of the memories bring a smile, a warmth, a soft remembering. A hand held. A glance. Deep gratitude for all they meant to us.
Almost always, when we sit in "our" chairs in the family room
sipping on freshly brewed coffee, my beloved Bert starts the
travelogue of life. One memory begets another.
Last night we had a precious granddaughter staying overnight and she had access to Face book. Sihin, her finger twirling and circling each message, was suddenly animated. She exclaimed with glee, "Look Nana, it's Owen!"
My oldest daughter, Jessi, had posted a video of Owen, her amazing 2 1/2 year old son. He was snow skiing down a gentle ski slope, no poles and with perfect balance. You could see the shadows of his family cheering him on. We watched the clip again and again and exclaimed at how amazing and athletic O truly is. We could imagine the wind on his face and the crunch of the snow underneath him as he courageously sailed toward his Daddy, ready to swoop him up if necessary. That here-and-now moment had us all grinning with pure JOY.
And then the stories of skiing days-of-old began, and we reminisced about when Chris and Eric, at about that same age, flew by Bert on a ski hill near Seattle. Memories of Bert skiing in Switzerland.
The memories seemed linked like the paper chains we made in grade school. One carefully-cut circle glued so as to fit inside the other. And before long, one circle fits within one circle and another and another.
Then my own snow skiing memories gently blew in like snow falling from trees after a slight breeze. Skiing when I was seven. Lessons with the Buzz Fiorini Ski School. A left ski pole carefully designed so I could plant my pole with the best of them. Hot chocolate on the ski bus. The misty watercolor memories cascaded like a waterfall.
O's story brought Bert's story, brought my story. And Sihin watched in awe and listened intently as nostalgia lovingly hijacked our conversation. She loves the old pictures and stories since, having been adopted from Ethiopia only two years ago, this is all new and fresh to her. And truth be told, we love having a willing and eager audience as the stories wander across our minds.
The old stories bring comfort. They bring a sense of knowing and belonging. They are small patches in the quilt of our lives.
I hope to record some of them in this new year so they will live on.
One day Owen and Sihin might be sitting at a fireplace and reminisce about Nana and Boppa. It will all start again with...
May God bless you and keep you and hold you in the palm of His Almighty hand.
Love you to the moon and back!
"If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old." ...