Snapshot: Waking Up

I had a hard time getting up this morning, and not because I’d been up late watching Star Wars: A New Hope with my daughter. In my dreams I got to spend time with someone I don’t see in person very often. And I didn’t want to go. Usually, I have to force myself to wake up. This time, I forced myself to stay asleep. It was equal amounts sweet and sad, but I’ll take it for now.

As was said in Romancing the Stone, I am a “hopeful romantic”.

Advertisements

Fun and Games with Conversation Hearts

To every season, there is a sweet. Easter has Cadbury eggs, Peeps, and Reese’s peanut butter eggs, which, to my delight, also exist at Christmas as trees and Halloween as pumpkins. In February, ’tis the season for heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, chocolate covered cherries, and, of course, Conversation Hearts.

I prefer the large Conversation Hearts. They’re not as hard as the small ones, and there’s more room for creative writing.

I understand that the maker of these sugary seasonal tidbits tries to keep up with the times, but when I set aside my sugar fix long enough to actually read these things, I try to picture having an actual conversation with them. The results are amusing, and occasionally disturbing.

Will You Marry Me?, True LoveForever Yours, and Sweet Talk: Classics. Nostalgic. Romantic and quaint.

Your Gal/Your Guy: A little pushy…or maybe overconfident…but cute under the right circumstances.

Heart Beat: Okay. I hope you have one. And?

Cool: For those of few words.

Mega Kiss: Sounds like a Dementor is attacking.

Sorry:  Rejection, or apology?

You’re So Cool: Leaning sarcastic.

Be My Friend: Hmm. Friendzoned via candy.

Ask Me Anything: Okay, there’s potential for a fun conversation.

Let’s Do Lunch: Seriously? Have your people call my people.

Shining Star: Manhattans? Or Earth, Wind and Fire?

Wild One: You’ve been warned.

Fax Me: If you pass this Conversation Heart to someone, and they do NOT know what a fax is, they are too young for you. Just sayin’. On the flip side, if you’re under a certain age, and neither of you know what a fax is, you’re good to go.

Dancing Queen: This one is fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. And you’re welcome for the ear worm.

Save Me: Desperate much?

For Keeps: Clingy.

Miss You: Awww. Send a box of these – just these – to your favorite military service person, or the other half of your long-distance relationship.

What Next: Don’t know, but it’s reminiscent of President Bartlet on The West Wing.

XOXO: Shorthand for hugs and kisses before texting was cool. Mix these in with the Miss Yous before mailing. 🙂

Okay, your turn. What’s the wackiest, oddest, most pointless Conversation Heart you’ve ever come across?

 

 

Why I Save Stuff

Moving from a house to an apartment, albeit a large apartment, made me realize just how much stuff I have.The place for my stuff (thank you, George Carlin) is in boxes and Sterilite containers. Some of it had appeared in the last two or three years. Most of it has not seen the light of day in a long time. I’m talking decades.

However, in a quest to condense and pare down the number of boxes, I began sorting through everything. One box contained elementary and junior high school yearbooks, the recorder I played in fourth grade, relics from my confirmation at St. Mary Magdalene, congratulatory cards bearing the signatures and Xs and Os of my long-departed grandparents, a blue box with two crystal rosaries, and many more things. Most papers went out. Objects tended to stay. Like a necklace with a small gold heart that I’ve had since I was 11.

Another box seemed to be the receptacle of my life from high school to college and maybe my early 20s. More yearbooks, copies of scripts from plays I was in, birthday and graduation cards, my high school boyfriend’s bow tie from prom (mauve was all the rage in 1986), and of course, diploma, mortar board, and tassel. It’s an odd collection of things, but the same feelings bubble up again. Relief. Sadness. A mild sense of loss. Anticipation of what’s next.

Packed in boxes with no rhyme or reason are my journals. I wrote daily for hours at a time for several years. I finally stacked them in chronological order and put them all in one place. I hope that IF my kids ever read them (hopefully long after I’m gone) they will remember that I was human before I was their mom.

I took a few minutes to flip through the journals. The first one dated from 1995 into 1996. I started it after I lost my friend Eric to non-Hodgkins lymphoma…which was just a few days after I’d gotten married. He was an artist, a photographer, a smart and creative man who liked artichokes on his pizza.I was a pall bearer.

In the same journal, I read entries about becoming a mother. 24-hours of labor to deliver an 11 pound, 7 ounce daughter. Eight weeks to recover. I wrote about the first time she reached for me as if she wanted me to pick her up, but instead she cupped my face in her hands, like I would do to her. And then there was the time she toddled over to me and opened my arms so she could flop onto my torso and I could give her a hug. She is a senior in high school this year.

Flipping through at least 5 other journals, I noticed recurring themes. My weight. Money. Loneliness. Creative impasses. I was constantly trying to find ways to drop ten, twenty, or thirty pounds. I kept setting writing goals and never achieving them. I kept trying to find ways to make more money or to save better. There was a lot of “if/then” thinking. If I drop 15 pounds, then I will be happy. If I just follow my measurements instead of the scale, then it won’t mess with my head so much. If I can finish this draft of the novel I’m working on, I can start pitching it to publishers next year. I could be published by the time I’m 40. I need to get my daughter ballet lessons to be a good mother.

I also found the journal entry that I can say is probably the exact day I realized my marriage was past the point of repair. It was about three years before it actually ended.

Overlapping and intertwining with that was the realization that God was not far away. That with all of my screwed-up-ness, He still wanted me in His Army of the Unqualified. I knew He was calling me. And I was scared. I spent a lot of time in denial. Running in the opposite direction. I kept thinking about things and people I’d have to give up, changes I’d have to make to be a “good soldier”. Sacrifices.

In another box was a paper bag. Inside the bag were notes and letters sent to me while I was serving on the team for the Women’s Emmaus Walk #76. I served in the midst of the calling and the disintegration, trying to take myself out of the spiritual equation and remind myself that I was there to shepherd the pilgrims. It wasn’t for me, it was for them. I pulled out one of the notes from my table leader Misty. She acknowledged our table’s unique circumstances and challenges, but encouraged me to keep praying and keep listening.

Then she wrote, “God has put it on my heart to share one word with you: courage.”

I took the note out of the bag and put it on my dresser where I can see it, along with a Letter from God read to the team at the beginning of the walk. We are identified by the word or phrase that we felt best described our relationship with God.

“One is stubborn, but her uncompromising and headstrong nature is how she stands and lives for Me in this fallen world.”

Change is constant. There are more forms of brokenness in this world than we realize. I am broken. And repaired. I am tired. And uplifted. I am defeated. And hopeful. I am afraid. And courageous.

I’ve shredded the papers that were pointless. Eliminated the stuff that was superfluous. Before I repackaged the memories and put them back in the boxes, I surveyed everything laid out on the bed, the floor, and every available surface and I realized something.

I have changed and I will keep changing. I survived the things I thought would crush me. I remember and laugh again at the moments that made me laugh. I miss the ones who are gone.This is the Me I can’t begin to explain to my daughters in just a few sentences.

I have lived.