Of course, being the kind of gal I am, I couldn’t just list 6 random memories. I had to think about a way to group them or categorize them! I also had some great pictures envisioned accompanying this post, but then life happened and I was lucky to get this written! So, here they are (pictureless!):
- Earliest. My earliest memory is the Easter we had baby bunnies. My parents were not the kind of folks who went out and bought us baby bunnies or chicks for Easter and then wondered what to do with them after the holiday passed. It was not like that. My brother had a paper route (remember those?), and had found a litter of baby bunnies when he was delivering papers. I don’t quite remember all the details, but I think something had happened to the mom, probably hit by a car, and the baby bunnies needed some care. I can picture feeding them through little droppers. We have pictures of me in my jammies with baby bunnies on my lap. We have other pictures of my sister and I in our little spring jackets watching the bunnies hop around our driveway. After a short time, we took them out to our local nature center so they could have a life in the wild. I don’t remember, but I would guess there was a fit involved with giving them up.
- Growing Up. A vivid memory I have from growing up is the day the Challenger exploded. Since the anniversary of that tragedy is this week, I thought it would be an appropriate one to include. I had the day off school, but in class the previous day we had been encouraged to watch the launch since there was a teacher on board. I remember watching the launch and then, like everyone else watching, not understanding what was happening. I can still hear the confusion and worry in the voices of the newscasters as they tried to understand what they were seeing. I can also still see the pattern the smoke made as the shuttle exploded in the sky. To this day, I can immediately recognize that smoke pattern.
- The Coach. One of my favorite memories associated with my husband is from right after we started dating. I was having a conversation with my best friend at the time, I still remember I was driving and talking to her on my cell phone. I had gone out with him once or twice. I had the impression, mostly from “hearsay,” that he was not a relationship kind of guy. I was convinced he was just a good time; a rebound relationship. But as I talked to my friend, I told her I didn’t know what to do. She asked me, “How do you feel when you’re with him?” I told her, “I get butterflies just thinking about him.” She gave me the very wise advice, “Well, you have to go with butterflies.” A few months short of a decade later, he still gives me butterflies when I think about him.
- Roo. I will never forget the moment the doctor handed me Roo. Being my first baby, I had no experience, no idea what to do or what to expect. The doctor handed me this wet, tiny, crying bundle. The moment I held him, I just looked at him and filled with tears, and simply said “Hi there.” And just like that, he stopped crying and looked right at me. As I softly spoke to him, welcoming him to the world, he just stared up at me, like he was finally seeing the face that went with the voice he knew so well. And in that moment, a mama was born.
- Monkey. My youngest is my emotional boy. He might end up like me, with his heart on his sleeve. One of my favorite memories of his kind, sweet nature is from the day of my brother’s funeral. I had spent the morning getting myself ready; putting on the nice dress and the make-up and curling my hair. I had kept myself busy and not thinking too much. In those minutes before we left, when the shoes were on and I was waiting to leave, the sadness washed over me. I must have looked like it was there, because my little Monkey came up and wrapped his arms around my legs. Then he looked up at me and said, “Does your heart feel better now, Mama?”
- Me. Some memories you know even as they are happening that you will never forget that moment. This past summer, my sister and I were with my brother as he passed away. While death itself seems to happen so quickly, the details and aftermath of it seem to take forever. We were at the hospital for hours afterward, waiting for phone calls to the funeral home, letting the caregivers clean him a last time, packing belongings, and doing things I will probably never remember. When my sister and I finally sat in her car and headed home, it was the middle of the night and we were exhausted. We were mostly silent, grieving in that alone yet together way. At the same moment, we both saw the brightest shooting star either of us remembered seeing. It shot across the sky, leaving behind a glimmering tale that seemed to linger for what felt like minutes, even if it was really only a second. We asked each other at the same time if we had seen it. And we both knew it was our brother, saying goodbye and letting us know he made it to the end of his journey safely.
What are some of your favorite or most memorable memories?