Memories are a slippery substance meant to be held for a moment in your mind, acknowledged, then set free again. They are there when you need them, but you can’t dwell in those moments as they are gone. If I close my eyes, I can remember the smells of my grandma’s kitchen. I can remember the pattern of the wallpaper, the tiny ducks walking around with bows on, and the door leading into the magical garage where my grandfather let me pretend I knew Morse code.
I can remember looking through the little window as he said his call sign, and he put his headphones on to “talk” to other Ham radio operates who had their “ears on”. Playing with that microphone and pretending I was doing the same thing. I would eventually end up back in the kitchen, as my grandmother was always making something wonderful. The Kitchen Aid mixer would be whipping up icing, and cakes would be in the oven. After I had eaten entirely too much icing out of old Cool Whip containers, I would wander off to play. I started writing a series of children’s books based on my adventures, and of course, have not published them. In fact, I only read them to my children just as I’ve always done with all my stories.
It hardly seems fair at all that my wonderful, generous, magical, yes magical, grandmother passed away at only 68 years old. Today would have been her 89th birthday. Over Thanksgiving, my Aunt remarked about how much my grandparents would have loved being there. We all smiled that knowing smile even as our minds thought back to different memories for each of us. Memories have that way of taking us back to the time and place of our choosing. We can use them for good, or for bad. We can be remorseful, resentful, or sorrowful that our loved ones were taken from us too early, or we can swallow the lump down and remember the good parts. We can NOT go back and fix things, change things, or invent cures for cancer. So stop that right now. The hardest part of facing your memories is remembering the good without getting a lump in your throat, the tightness in your chest and the urge to cry. After 21 years, you would think I had mastered that. Writing this post has proven me wrong. However, there has always been reason to celebrate today, because God also put my best-friend in my life at 5 (we always debate the earliest date, but we think kindergarten), and her birthday is also today.