Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pictures of Things That Change

25 years ago, my mother wrote
on the night before I left for college:

Tonight the old suitcase broke. . . Our last evening
at Grandma & Grandpa's before leaving in the morning
to take Emma to school for the first day of college.
We were busy with gathering, sorting, washing, bathing,
packing, & Emma was ironing her clothes & hanging
them on hangers ready for a short trip and then to be hung
in the closet in her dorm room.

25 years later, my daughter writes
during a week of her father and I standing in the
background, bemused, beaming:

My mother, my friend,

rider of bikes and writer of blogs,


The suitcase was old and weakened by the years.
I knew it was going to fall apart some day soon.
. . . Her father suggested that perhaps he could attach new
hinges, but the latches were so unreliable &
the framework battered & broken so I said we
had best just junk it. Her brother took it out to
the trash to be hauled off.

Dear Mom, who listens to every woe I grapple with,

You taught me everything: how to cook


It was just 22 years ago I took some of the
money I earned at Ayers department store
& bought a set of blue suitcases to take
with me to college. It made it all seem so
concrete to look at the luggage during the
summer before I was to leave. The 4 cases
nested inside one another.

The best way to clean a bathroom.

Joys of forgiveness and rewards of kindness.


After college the suitcase went to Indiana & back with me
and my new husband on our wedding trip and then was put away for
a few months until I packed it with nightgown,
slippers, toothbrush, cosmetics & baby clothes
that I took out each day, admired, & refolded before
shutting up the case for another day, until the day
came that the suitcase, her father & I left before dawn for a
trip to the hospital.

We canned peaches side by side all day

And I knew that I was loved - forever.


In the meantime that first tiny baby has grown past
the point of my counting each day's development so
near my heart. Past the birth, first faltering steps,
strolls around the block with Mommy, first day at
Primary in a new red & yellow dress, skinned knees,
pigtails, tooth fairy, kindergarten, spelling contest,
piano lessons, lunch-mate worries, braces, & first date.

O Mommy, my harbor, my haven,

I must leave this house, this life, and you --

young daughter
young mother    *

A new life will open its wonders to delight my eyes

But my heart breaks at the thought of leaving you.

But she has not grown past the wide-eyed curiosity
that was her first reaction to life, nor past the purity,
determination, & sensitivity of her soul.

grown *

I have never been without you.

And yet, you would not want me to stay.
Neither has her mother grown out of the sense
of wonder at sharing the care of such an unique,
exquisite soul, nor the humble gratitude for
such a blessing in my life, nor the love for the one
person who knows me better than any other
except her father and still loves me.


So if I find my eyes wet now it can't be because I see
a lovely young daughter crowned with honors, trembling
on the threshold of a bright, successful future.

 some things stay the same

I will miss your company
and your wisdom.

writes my daughter,
October 2009
The tears must be for the dear old suitcase.
I don't know how I'm going to live without it.

wrote my mother,
August 1985
(I love you, little one)
* Linnea Cardon and Carman Photography

1 comment:

jj said...

oh wow. that's the most beautiful blog post i've ever seen. thank you for sharing that.

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