Today's prompt (from Five Minute Friday) is Remember. When I think backwards, I find stacks of memory pictures. Still images, sound bytes and short movements, smells, flavors and sounds, more like scratch and sniff stickers than a live action film.
I started to remember, intending to stop in five minutes, but a paper cut required a band aid, a cousin called, and then a song came on and Ryan decided we needed to have a dance party. Needless to say, five minutes came and went. But I like looking back, much like I enjoy flipping through old photo albums. Some memories hold mere images, but others evoke more. So I will write today, for longer than five minutes, and attempt to capture some of these memories that waft through my musings. I invite you to look through them with me, this stack of Polaroid thought.
I look down. I see a belly button, bare toes and a diaper. I look up, I see a little wooden table, with big wooden blocks, heaped on top. Both handmade and gifted by Daddy. I am two.
A circle in a culdesac, with three tall trees. A pink bike that I ride in a loop, townhomes and parked cars enclosing my route. Stopping by my Dad, we begin to talk. There on the blacktop, in summer shorts, he asked "If you were to go to heaven today, and an angel stopped you at the gate and said 'Why should I let you in?' what would you say?" We talked about grace. We talked about salvation. Dad snagged a moment from the ordinary and left me with a memory. I am six.
A new house. A new backyard. A whole acre of fresh space, a widened horizon of imagination and excitement. A croquet game, a badmitton tourniment. Sword fights and manhunts, tree climbing and falling out of hammocks. A husband and horse, both made out of a tree, a baby made out of a sock, pies and salad made out of mud and leaves. Snow forts on a hill, a thorny trek to a creek in the woods. Scenes from my childhood flash by like crisp leaves falling to the earth. I am nine, and then I am ten.
A heart pang. Self aware and insecure for the first time. The first crush ends badly. Sitting in a closet, I cry quietly. With clothes hanging over my head and a door blocking all the light, I began to question myself, my value and my relationships. That year I entered new circle of peers and encountered "popularity" and "fashion." Tentatively, I began to wade through the unending query of "who am I?" It all started there, the slow, messy climb into maturity. I am in seventh grade.
A dark room, late at night, with hot tears rolling down my cheeks. This heart pang is much deeper, and it cuts me to the quick. This one changes my life. I stretch my hands up towards my Father and open them wide. "I give you my heart." I whisper. And I found that He was holding my hand, and I entwined my fingers with His. Together we stepped out, truly united for the first time. I am eighteen.
A small white box, glowing on my screen in the early morning. It was raining that day, but I didn't know it yet, down in my basement bedroom. Black text flicked in conversation between me and a long time acquaintance newly turned friend. Heart pounding and cheeks blooming, we found that we felt the same, and saw the Lord pointing in the same direction. Together we jumped, and our futures became linked. Nine months later, he got down on one knee, in the grass of my parent's lawn, and asked me a question. I hear crickets and the air is warm and smells of spring. He put a ring on my finger, I first see it glinting by candle light. I said through a drippy face, "Absolutely!" and the commitment was made, there under a canopy of branches. I am nineteen.
"What God has joined together, let no man separate." And then, in front of all our dearest friends, we kiss for the first time. Moist lips, we almost trip, causing a ripple of laughter. I am his and he is mine. I feel the warmth of the new summer sun, and hear the chirping of birds. A journey, begun months before, starting afresh. I am twenty.
She lay in my arms, nine months later, breathing her first breath into my sweaty chest. I remember a tiny face, blinking in bewilderment, and a wet wrinkly body, warm in my arms. A child was born, but so was a mother. I can still see those eyes, reflecting mine. The rest of that day is a blur, but that first minute, I will never forget. I am twenty one.
Summer sunlight, filters through leaves. I look down and see bright green pants, and on them lie a tiny black haired baby. She is round and quiet, looking intently at nothing a few inches above her head. She is waking up to the wide world all about us, and I am waking up to the world of her. She is two months old.
A year ago, I look back, and watch my dark, empty porch disappear around a corner. I have not seen it since. We followed the Lord as He led us, and found ourselves on a different porch, far away from that first one. I loved our porch there, and I have come to love our stoop here. The sunlight shifts differently on each. There, through leaves and branches, here bright, full and hot...
The past has melted into my present. Tomorrow has become today, and I watch a three year old walk past, tugging at the waistband of bright underwear that is to wide for her slim waist. I hear the trickle of rain outside, and feel the rumble of a manchild under my ribs. What will imprint itself as memory from these todays?