Reflections

Life has a funny way of slowly slinking past you until one day you look up and a month has gone by. Birthdays and Holidays flash past in a fast paced tango and before you know it half the year has gone by and you are sitting on your bed reading through your Facebook Memories about what you were doing on this exact day 6 years ago. Well, maybe thats just me but you get the point. Life has a way of swishing past you like a grandma doing her fast walk at the mall and sometimes it takes the big moments for you to actually stop and reflect.

Think about it, how many times as day do you just simply sit where you are and reflect? If you are like me you usually spend your days cramming information into your overfilled brain all the while wondering what to make for dinner and what you will be wearing the next day. It is so easy to get lost in the motion of things, the every day worries. The outfit, food, weight, exercise worries. Then when a holiday rolls around or some major life moment comes to life you are able to finally look back and see where you have been and hopefully where you are going.

Tomorrow is my bridal shower. In exactly 15 days almost to the hour I will be marrying the love of my life. These things finally hit me today. I know, I know its a little last minute but its just how I roll. Going from finals week to instantly rolling into the full time summer gig I have, the days just zoomed by. But taking some time to stop and reflect tonight, the night before the shower I am just now realizing how far I have come. I would like to say that I have come to this reflection  by myself but, like most of my peers I would have to give that credit to facebook. Scrolling through my facebook memories I saw that three years ago today I was posting high school graduation pics with short hair and old friends. Four years ago I was rocking an orange shirt and a red pimple at my step brothers graduation party with my siblings. Two years ago I was offering someone a million dollars to find those iced animal crackers, it was a weird time. Five years ago I was dancing and walking in relay for life  with black nails and a short jean skirt. Needless to say I have come a longggg way. Looking back on all these random things that happened in my life throughout the years on a random day in June gives me perspective and excitement for the future.  Long gone are the jean skirts and pimples. Instead white pencil skirts and a trusted face wash take their place. My siblings have all grown older, I have fallen in love, moved away from home, graduated with an associates and continued onto my dream school where I am currently working toward my dream career. So many things have happened and time is flying so fast. So, I have a little word of advice for you my friends where ever you may be out there. Take some time to review, reflect and enjoy your memories. Call up that old friend from graduation and reminisce about growing up. Visit that park you always went too as a kid. Dont get so caught up in the everyday worries and learn to focus on the bigger picture. Find the old photo album, search through your laptop or break out the facebook. Whatever you do, dont let the big moments and holidays be the only time you reflect and reminisce.

Expiration date

As the chill in the outside air grew colder and everyone around me bundled up. As the colors of the leaves began their last marvelous show and everything became pumpkin flavored, I knew it was time. The date of expiration was nearing me. I remember the issue date, or to a 16 year old me, the best day on planet earth. Though I was sneezing and coughing and had the worst kind of flu, nothing could rain on my parade. After the nerves settled and I managed to park the car back in the lot, I knew that I finally earned my ticket to the freedom my 16 year old self so desperately desired. I ran inside, and with a nod of my head a mob of screaming, hugging, and excited family members surrounded me. I had the largest smile any human could have produced and that smile stared up at me until my 21st birthday this year. Something I also remember thinking about that day was the big, bold expiration date listed at the bottom of my pink ticket to freedom. I remember thinking of the year 2014 as if it was a land far far away, a time so distant and so unattainable I had no idea what the world had in store for me. Of course I had the bigger questions of things like, would my country still be in war, how would technological advances affect the children of the time and would we be able to cure cancer, but lets my honest here I was 16 so I mostly thought about me.  I remember spending hours upon hours attempting to imagine what exactly the world would be like for me in the intimidating, far off year of 2014. Right before I went to go exchange that picture of a doe eyed child for an adult woman, I was forced to reflect on the time spent between issue and expiration. At the ripe age of 16 I would not in a million years have pictured my life how it is today. I would not have seen any of it coming. The struggle of losing my grandfather with such speed in knocked us all off our feet. The way my mother and father can now be in the same establishment and even shake hands. The car I am driving, the place that I work and the nearing end of my college experience. I would not have foreseen the loss of some friendships and the making of new glorious ones. The meeting of the love of my life and my very best friend. That by the time the expiration date grew close I was planning a June wedding and looking forward to the challenges and adventures life has in store for a 21 year old me. At 16 I had the world at my feet, no fear in my eyes or dreams that were too big. And, while some realities of the world have set in as I am crossing over into my 21st year, I am proud that I still have  large dreams and an optimistic outlook on life. The things that I have accomplished in those years between those bold dates make me proud. The things I have in store for my future, the goals and dreams I am working toward achieving and the understanding that there is no way I can predict what my life will be like between issue and expiration makes be believe that in some distant universe where time is endlessly existing, I have made my 16 year old self very proud.

Memories

Have you ever wondered why you remember little tiny details from your life, usually lasting only a few moments and that seem to hold no real value? Because, if you are like me, I cant seem to remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, was it toast or, maybe cheerios. I mean its rather clear why I can graphically recall flipping over my handlebars and skidding down the drive way at the ripe age of four or the moment when I was eleven and my mother sat us down to tell us she had cancer, but what about the tiny, seemingly random moments that you can not seem to forget. Why do I remember being six and my brother being three and “riding” our magic carpets (our blankies laying on the floor of my childhood house). Why do I perfectly recall sitting in the passenger seat of my grandparents old, roughly worn truck seat and singing a christmas song with my grandfather. Its so clear that I can picture sitting there, my small hands covered in white mittens and riding the smooth country road to his house. Why do I recount the smell of buttery popcorn being made on the stove of our tiny house. I can see my beautiful mother standing there telling us it’s almost ready and her laughing about a joke that has drifted along with my memory.  Why can I see myself riding down the block, wind in my hair, pink handlebars and all, on my way to my very best childhood friends house. Why do I remember laying in the backyard, the sun hitting us just right as my brother and I lay in the warm green grass. These random things I can not forget. Will they show me something about myself in the future, did I do something life changing without knowing, will I be shown these moments five people you meet in heaven style. Maybe we all remember these tiny moments because, while they were small, they were perfect. Maybe we felt an enormous amount of love, or happiness, or just flat out joy. As I grow older I cant think of a better afternoon than laying in the grass with my brother, and what I wouldn’t give to be sitting in that cold, old truck with my warm, perfect grandfather. Memories are all we have, as we get older. People leave us, you move away from home, and the world never ceases to change. Memories are what ground us, what inspire us and what makes us feel at home. While most are random and seem to hold no true value, if you think about it, most of these memories are perfect. Simple, short, and perfect.

An old poem.

My rearview mirror fills,

With a skyline I once knew,

Though I know the skyline remains the same,

What’s different can’t be viewed.

The memories fill my mind,

As I take a look around,

Of the trees that changed from green to gold and all the buildings that don’t make a sound,

A smile creeps upon my face,

As I think of our time in this place,

Our laughter that once filled the streets,

When time came easy and love came free,

With every brick I step upon,

Your memories fill my mind,

Of a time that was so magical it forever changed my life.

So when you’re down and lonely,

Or you happen to stumble across downtown,

Remember though surrounding change,

What we have remains all the same,

A time when the future was only tomorrow,

The past just yesterday,

A time when we came together and simply enjoyed one another,

The skyline slips out of view,

As I drive away,

But the happiness we once shared and a smile still remains.

 

 

A Lifetime Apart

They were already there when we found a place to sit at the other end of the long worn down leather bench. I sat on the bench and you sat across from me just as she sat on the bench and her husband sat across from here. A simple bench length separated a lifetime. As they were eating and chatty quietly a couldn’t help but to sneak a peek. I began to see you and I at that age, I began to see our future flash through my mind like a reel of a movie. In five minutes the extension of our lives played for me like a prime time movie. I saw myself walking down the aisle in an overpriced lace gown toward you. I saw myself tucked quietly beside you in our large and cozy bed. I envisioned you and I dancing around our new home with smooth wood floors and a colorful doorway. I saw us drinking wine in Italy and taking pictures by the Eiffel tower. I saw our hair begin to grey and I felt the way your dark skin began to feel after holding mine for 50 years. I watched our lives, or rather my hopes and dreams of our lives play in rapid speed across the well traveled free way of my mind. When reality forced my derailment off the free way, I finished with a look at the people on the other side of the bench, hoping that one day, 70 years from now that would be you and I.

During her soft discussion with her husband over lunch, she couldn’t help but to take a sneak peek at the young couple at the other end of the bench. While her husbands voice began to tailor off her mind went into rewind. She saw the  first day she  met him on the crystal summer day on that beach in July of 1940. She saw the long days and nights she cried over her bed waiting and praying for him to return from war. She saw the way he grabbed her by the waist and gave her that kiss that would forever burn on her lips,  in his sailor uniform the first day he got home. Her memories flew through the time he got down on one knee on that beach 5 years later and asked for her hand. She saw herself walk down the aisle in her mothers soft dress and the new home they saved up for. She saw their first child being born and the over worked hand that he still holds hers with. The reality of the restaurant snapped her back into the world at hand and stopped her black and white rewind reel. She stopped her husband mid speech and held his hand. She gave him the same look that she gave him that blue sky day they met so many years ago.

Each couple secretly sneaked peeks of each other from the ends of that smooth leather bench over lunch that day. One woman looked at the end of the bench and her mind flew into fast forward, one into rewind. Both not knowing that the other is wishing for their beautiful lives.

For You.

Hey I missed you today,
I missed the way you made everything seem a little less grey,
I miss the way you held my hand because I was scared,
Lord knows I could use it now,
As I stroll across the threshold of adulthood,
Did you get to see my graduation,
Were you up there cheering for me,
Do I make you proud,
Well at least from what you can see?
Sometimes I can still feel your laughter,
even when I’m mad,
what I would give to hear it in my ears,
and not simply from my head.
Remember when I was little,
and we were driving in the car,
and you told us that sweet summer day,
that you can see how it rains.
If you look out in the sky,
that the sky slants with grey,
that its raining over their so prepare for the day.
You also said,
hey look over there,
as you gestured toward the clouds,
and told me and my brother,
that when the sun falls between the clouds,
and you can feel its warmth,
that the light is the light from heaven,
and it means all our family is smiling down on us,
right then.
When the sun hits the sky just right,
to this day,
I cry.
I know that its you up there,
looking down on me,
I can feel the warmth of your smile in the heat of the sun.
I hope you get to see your dad,
and your brother too,
I know you missed them here on earth,
and I am sure they missed you too.
I hope you get to see me,
as I begin to take on my years,
are you watching me now as I begin to tear?
Ninny misses you a lot,
when you left us a part of her went too,
I dont know if she will ever be the same here without you.
I hope you don’t mind that I read all those letters,
the ones you wrote to her from the war,
the cute and lovely ones,
from when you were just a kid.
I hope this letter gets sent up there,
and you can spare a moment to read,
and then I hope you go right back to fishing,
and smiling,
and laughing,
and setting in that sun.

Graduation.

I don’t think that I will ever be able to forget my high school graduation. Eaton High School, a very small town school, where we all grew up together, the people I will never forget. I worked my whole life for the moment. I anticipated that day since I knew what graduation was. I woke up that morning full of hope, yet an indescribable sadness. While the larger part of me knew that it was time to achieve my dreams, a small, rather quiet part of me was not yet ready to give up my life; the only life I had ever known. As I dressed in my new white, lace dress and white sandals, pictures were taken with the family. One of the pieces I remember the most was putting on that white robe. The last outfit I would be in for my former life, it was time to grow up now. As I slung my gold National Honor Society robes around the collar, I made my way for the football field. That day will forever be a part of me. As I met up with my fellow friends and class mates in the back, it all seemed bittersweet.  As we lined up, it seemed like the average day for some part. We messed around, poking jokes at each other, and laughing like always, yet none of us could truly seem to face the reality of the situation. This was the last time, ever, that we would all be together like this. As we all made our grand entrance across the field and holding my lovely rose, I couldn’t stop the ever present smile.

I smiled through that entire ceremony. As I took my seat in the very front row, the guys made jokes, we all cried as our friends gave speeches, and our families screamed when our names were called as we finally received our diplomas. It all seems like a dream, the crowd, my friends, my family, and the massive amount of time spent on the field in a humongous hug fest. It seemed that none of us really wanted to leave the field, because when we did, it all became real. I will never forget what happened the night after graduation though. As we said our goodbyes and many trailed off to parties, my very best friends and I met up. One of my friends was moving away and we wanted one last who-rah, for the house, for the town, and mostly for each other. Things would never be the same, we all knew that. So, together we gathered, that warm spring night. As we sat around the burning fire we reminisced on the past, as we laughed until we cried. Though the grass was warm and the friendship warmer, it was time to take our leave. With too longing hugs we parted ways, saying lofty goodbyes. I will never forget that beautiful day, those outstanding people, or that warm spring night.