reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the storage unit. [two artists tuesday]

storage unit copy

on my nightstand next to the bed are two frames.  both written in little-kid-writing, they are notes i saved from long ago.  one is from My Girl and it reads, “goodnight mom” surrounded by hearts.  the other is from My Boy and it has two words on it, “craig” (with a backwards g) and “mom” and has hearts filling up the rest of the notepaper.  each night i see these as i wish them both, from far away, goodnight, sweet dreams, restful sleep.

i come by this threadiness honestly.

we were in florida visiting; two of the days we were there, despite bright sunlight and temperatures in the 80s, we spent in a storage unit.  what was left of my parents’ belongings was packed in boxes, stacked in a unit, waiting for us to put our eyes on all of it and decide what to do with each of these things.  my mom’s impulse was to keep things, especially paper.  photographs and slides aside, there were files and files – some of which we will wade through later.  there were boxes of mugs and baskets and trinkets, a kaleidoscope of the pieces of life, carefully packed by my sister and brother-in-law during a time of sadness, a time that was not ripe with paring down or organizing, a time that is difficult for anyone who has packed up a house. larger items were already distributed – furniture given away or passed down to the next generation.  but these boxes….

i was quite sure that, even if i hadn’t seen anything in any of the boxes, i had all i needed….my treasures of my sweet momma and my poppo are tucked in close to my heart and i have physical memories of them around me in our home.  they are not the high-priced treasures you might think people would save or claim.  instead, they are small, meaningful, invaluable and thready things that speak to me.  old calendars of my mom’s, my dad’s small rickety wooden boxes from his workbench, glasses from which my dad sipped his scotch, a flannel shirt my mom wore that matched my dad’s, a board with hooks that is wood-burned with the word “keys” and hung in our growing-up house for as long as i can remember…

spending time in the storage unit, surrounded by memories and the fading scent of my mom’s perfume and their house, i was heartened to see that i actually could go through and pare down.  it gives me hope about our own basement.  the real things of our past – sweet treasured memories – are not things.  everyone gets meaning from and sees value in different stuff.  two days in the storage unit reminded me again of that.

this time i didn’t cry.  i laughed with my momma, who, no doubt, was rolling her eyes in heaven over the fact that she had saved sooo many pieces of paper…paid bills, old house contracts, warranties from appliances long gone, car receipts from several cars ago.  a collection of life gone by, i know she smiled when every now and then we stumbled onto something i loved to touch….i kept the little scrap of paper that fluttered to the floor that my mom had written my full birth name on…i kept a couple calendars with my poppo’s handwriting…i kept a tiny folder of maps my mom collected in her curiosity about the changing world…i kept my dad’s brown suede cap, the one i bought him a million years ago…i kept a manila folder of letters i had written to them over the years – that my momma saved…these pieces of evidence of who they were, heirlooms of what was most important to them.

i vowed, once again, to go through, give away, sell the things in our own home that are not necessary.  but those bins in the basement labeled “kirsten” and “craig”?  those will stay.  i will delight in going through the artwork and stories and notes and school projects from their childhood and growing up.  and some day, maybe they too will see how infinitely important each of the baby steps and adult steps they have taken are to me.  and maybe some of the thready treasures i have left behind will give them pause and, maybe, they will save a scrap or two, a calendar, a notebook of unpublished songs, photographs, something that reminds them of what was most important to me – the thready things that are memories of love, of family, of them.

it wasn’t sunny or 82 degrees inside the storage unit.  but it was warm in a whole other way.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

mommaandpoppo deer ridge website box

 

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waterproof mascara

about a decade ago i set a goal for myself. one of many, this one may seem a tad obscure, maybe even not-worthy. but it was a huge one for me and represented many layers. my goal? it was –

to not wear waterproof mascara.

i just really wanted to reach the point to be able to wear regular mascara – be it revlon or maybelline or loreal – any brand really – just not waterproof.

i had a lot of reasons to wear waterproof mascara, not the least of which was to avoid having those dreaded mascara lines down my face and blackened eyes from – yes – tears. weeping does that. crying does it worse. and sobbing? well, let’s not even go there. that adds botox to my face without adding botox to my face. some people look great when they cry. you know, soft and emotional without the ‘geezhaveyoubeencryingforhours?’ look.

i had good reasons to wear waterproof mascara…the reasons i was weeping…my brother had died, a dear friend had lost a cancer battle, my marriage fell apart, my daughter headed off to college, followed in a few years by my son, menopause was wreaking havoc on me, my body and my emotions, dreams i thought would happen didn’t, my daddy died (no more “goodnight brat” phone calls), i had to put my business on hold, my sweet momma was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, my sweet momma died….the list is not unlike anyone else’s, but i was taking these mascara challenges hard. really hard. my heart was breaking.

and then? then came a gift. a road trip, of sorts. and a partner who was willing to be on this new road trip with me. someone who was there – no matter what. willing and able and committed to sticking through all the stuff of relationship. it wasn’t a relationship on hold or with parameters or promises not met or one with rules or balance sheets. it was a relationship building on realness. building on who i really was and who he really was. and goodness knows, like all of us, we both had things about who we really were that needed some work. waterproof mascara would have been helpful along the way as we built together. geeeeeeez. but somewhere along the way, i had given it up and bought REAL mascara. the kind that dribbles down your face with tears or out in the rain. i had graduated! (or so i thought.)

and then, as i was shopping for our wedding(!), in the middle of the target makeup aisle, it occurred to me that, perhaps, i needed some waterproof mascara. because as i was walked up the aisle, one month ago today, in my blue jeans and frye boots, i knew i was going to cry. these tears would be different. and these tears would be the same. and these tears would make regular mascara drain down my cheeks. and, oh my, that wouldn’t be good in pictures.

but these tears were worth it. from the back of the church, my children were directly in front of me, leading the way down the aisle, lighting the candles, lighting my way. i waited for my turn to walk. and the tears came. i silently gave thanks for maybellinerocketvolumeexpresswaterproof. i silently gave thanks for the many family members, friends from afar and right-here friends filling the sanctuary.   i silently gave thanks for the girl and the boy, beautiful, striding together down the aisle. i silently gave thanks for our dear dear friend at my side, walking me down the aisle when my dad and my brother couldn’t.   i silently gave thanks for the amazing man waiting for me at the end of the aisle with his blue jeans and frye boots on. and i silently gave thanks to the universe for this gift. because, what i have learned is that the reasons for waterproof mascara IS where it’s at. anything worth anything is worth the tears – be they of joy or of sadness, be they jig-dancing or floor-hugging, be they of love found or loss of love. bring it on, tearducts. i’m ready. and i’m grateful.

my new goal? as much waterproof mascara as one life can muster.

wedding sunset photo