Thursday, June 25th I had an author interview with Scott from Cable 14 City Matters. At the end of the interview he and the producer asked if I could send them a few pictures to add to the recording before it’s aired on Tuesday (to be confirmed). More specifically pictures of me and Joey, as well as our parents and kids.
“Most definitely,” I replied exhuberantly.
For over 30 years I’ve been lugging a Rubbermaid bin, filled with printed 35mm photo’s, from one new address to another. Rarely does it get opened. In our current home we have a roughed in bathroom under the stairs that is used for storage and that’s were this bin has been strategically placed, hidden as far in the back as possible. I pulled the chain dangling from the light to illuminate the space. I waited for movement. Centipedes live in dark spaces. I don’t like centipedes!
Foraging through my fear I relocated almost every item to outside the storage room until, there it was, light blue with a dark blue lid. It had seen the inside of many moving trucks over the years. It was perched atop four other bins of a different shade of blue. Forgetting they existed or what treasures they held, I lifted the lid off one and sadly realized it contained some of dad’s belongings that I retrieved from his apartment after he passed away. Feeling weighted, I sighed and closed the lid. Another day perhaps!
On a time crunch and leaving the finished basement in disarray, I struggled to get the heavy bin of photo’s upstairs. I stopped to catch my breath and grinned. I currently have over 10,000 photo’s living in the ‘Cloud’. I wondered how many bins would it take to store those?
Placing the bin on the dining room table I gripped both ends of the faded dusty blue lid. I paused because I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. Memories buried deep in the musty darkness of this light blue Rubbermaid container, were now resting in these wrinkled, aging hands.The faces of so many loved ones now passed, flipped through my foggy memory like a rolodex. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, friends, pets, and…dad and…Joey. My ex-husband, turned best friend and the father of my children died at age fifty from liver cancer in 2012. He has five beautiful grand babies who only know him from a picture and that Poppy Joe lives in heaven. I hope he knows I love them enough for both of us.
Why, after 30+ years, have I held onto photo’s of random, out of focus, scenery. I have no idea where they were taken. Why would I keep grainy horrible photo’s of Niagara Falls when we can drive 35 minutes and witness the beauty in real time. There’s a picture of someone’s feet in white socks. Why? Other peoples kids hide out in my photo bin and I have not idea who they are.
Spreading a few photo’s across my dining room table I placed my head in my hands and was transported back in time. Two young innocent girls frolicking in the water on a hot summer day with their dad. A family vacation at a relatives cottage. The vacation when we told Charlene and Krystal they had an older sister. It’s been forty one years since I left the hospital with empty arms and although I am reunited with my daughter, their sister, I still cry.
I’m reading a book by Brene Brown called ‘Rising Strong’. In it she says, “Once we fall in the service of being brave, we can never go back. We can rise up from our failures, screwups, and falls, but we can never go back to where we stood before we were brave or before we fell. Courage transforms the emotional structure of our being. this change often brings a deep sense of loss. During the process of rising, we sometimes find ourselves homesick for a place that no longer exists.”
Five hours later I settled on a few photo’s, sent them to Scott for the City Matters show and returned the bin back to the dark corner of the storage room. The photo bin of memories left me feeling like a failure and a screw-up. Courageous and brave I was not.
Yesterday (Sunday June 27) I was having a tough day and popped into my daughter’s (Charlene) house for an impromptu visit. Krystal was visiting as well with her family so it was nice to have differing views of opinions. Feeling much better after a great chat I was gathering my belongings when I overheard Isla, my three year old grand daughter, say to her dad, “Daddy can I have an uppy hug?” He scooped her up in his arms and with her faced nuzzled in his neck they gave each other a long, beautiful hug.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our down days all ended in uppy hugs?
Thanks for listening old friend