Sometimes I forget I have a blog. Life takes over, and before I know it, weeks (sometimes, months) have gone by without an entry.
No matter how hectic things get, however, I never stop taking pictures. My camera never gets put away.
In the backyard of the home I grew up in, there is a massive apple tree. In spring, its blossoms are resplendent. In late summer, its apples cover the ground below it. Its gnarled branches have held my children while they galloped on an old tire horse, and shaded their play summer after summer.
Its age shows in its bark, but so does its strength.
This blanket appeared in the laundry after my daughter had cleaned her room.
There are memories tucked inside this blanket.
As I folded it, I was brought back eight and ten years ago, when my children were tiny babies wrapped in its folds. How is it possible that these years have passed so quickly? Surely it was only days ago that I was carrying infants home from the hospital, ready to begin our new lives as a family.
I can still feel these babies in my arms each time I hug my children, with each kiss goodnight.
We picked up a few vinyl records at the secondhand shop.
This is Queen.
Memories were revived and much discussion about the evolution of music ensued. Our children think we are ancient.
For us, though, it was not so long ago we were singing these songs, and it brings us back.
Since we’ve been in the process of planning our Disney trip, it has been inevitable that we talk about our first one.
So my sisters, our children, and our parents sat around and watched a slide show of our trip almost thirty years ago. (A slide show, to the kids’ fascination, that did not involve a computer.)
We reminisced about the rides, we giggled at the hairstyles and the clothes, and we discovered details we had long forgotten.
We will carry these memories with us as new ones are made.
Watching my daughter dress up her dolls in high fashion takes me back to my childhood.
(Except I had Barbie; she has Bratz and Monster High.)
I am going to attempt to make a quilt.
We bought a new bedroom set, and I’ve always wanted a scrap quilt, so now is the time.
First, I cut squares from my own fabric collection. Then, I raided my mother’s sewing room. Fabric from my wedding dress, scraps from childhood Halloween costumes, and pieces leftover from outfits worn years before.
It was not only a hunt for fabric; it was a trip down memory lane.
An August afternoon in my parents’ backyard is filled with laughter and conversation.
We sit below the climbing roses, on the deck my father built. The gardens surrounding us have been planted and tended by my mother. Chickadees swoop over our heads and chipmunks skitter by. These fences hold memories.
While Sunday supper warms in the oven, more memories are made.
Is there anything so nostalgic as a lemonade stand?
My daughter had been absolutely determined to have one. She made the sign, found the perfect lemon at the grocery store, even packed ice in a lunch box.
With the round kiddie table from my childhood and a couple of wooden chairs, she and her brother parked themselves at the end of the driveway. And waited.
I held my breath, hoping they would at least get one or two sales. It was a Wednesday afternoon (I could not talk her into waiting until the weekend). A few minutes went by, my children eyeing the cars passing them.
Then, it started. People stopped. They smiled and chatted and drank their lemonade.
I am at my Nanna’s and I am four years old.
My grandmother is a comfortable and loving presence. Other people are there, but they exist in my memory as shadows. Logically, I know who they are, but I cannot see them.
We are waiting.
My younger sister is with me. She is two and torments me. (Now, this is a joke among us, how she used to pick on me.) My parents are not there.
I can feel excitement and anticipation and a little uncertainty. We are in the kitchen, linoleum floor and metal table and wood cabinets lining the walls. The shadows are there, too. It is the gathering place in my Nanna and Pappy’s house.
The door opens and I am there, waiting. My father comes in.
“It’s a girl,” he says proudly.
I am happy.
Tackling the dusty boxes in the basement was not my idea of a good time.
Two days later, though, and it’s a task I appreciate having completed. Four garbage bags, 6 empty boxes, 3 bags of recycling, and 3 bags to give away. At times tedious and seemingly never-ending, it is now done.
An unexpected pleasure came from all this sorting, though: Reminiscing when I came across old photos, the kids’ early drawings, letters, even my old cameras.
Organizing allowed me to spend a few minutes with memories.