Wednesday, August 25, 2010

this was once your life

Do you remember?

The fairgrounds and the smell of cotton candy? Watching them set up the rides?  And the horses riding around the ring?  And here, further on, do you remember the barn that once stood here at the corner?  Do you remember how it collapsed over many years ? How you remarked each time we went past how much further it had fallen and took pictures of it and even wrote about its disappearance back in grade school?

Do you even remember grade school?  The kindergarten teachers who stood at the door and shook hands with each child coming through the door?  And the playground, that old site of battles and negotiations? 

The tree with the magic door?  The fence where you rallied your troops to take back the climbing set?  The swings where so many friendships began?  so many friendships ended?

And the oldest tree in town?  Remember?

In the last years of your childhood you still knew how to figure out its height with a tape and a straw and a protractor. 

Ten years from now, will you still remember how? Will you still remember this day when we all biked around for a last good-bye to all the sights of town?  And the taste of green walnuts? And hoping after the fact that green walnuts aren't actually poison?  

If you're alive to still wonder, you'll know that they aren't.

What will you remember from all these years that you once lived in and lived through?

We took you to feed the ducks, do you remember?  And the way the ducks would gather below Edith's Beauty Shop with its flower boxes and its bright red roof and its ancient proprietress?  Will you remember this road you've walked along, ridden along, driven along, stood beside, so many uncountable, irretrievable days in so many kinds of weather?

All this was once part of your life.

Wherever you go it will go with you.

You may not remember how I watched you trying on your new life like sunglasses at the pharmacy.  Trying out what will wear on you best through the years that have now begun.

I hope you find a good fit.  That you remember to have fun.  That you often have something to laugh about


and friends to walk beside you when you have to go in and fix whatever's broken.  For you will, you know, have plenty of broken to contend with.

But even when it's not fun, when nothing fits, when you have to walk in alone, I hope you remember -

Even when you're alone, you aren't alone. 

Even when you're scared, you can stand up for, you can stand up against.  You can always stand up. 

Even when you're weak, you can strengthen weary hands that hang down.

I hope you remember even when some may try to shut you out, you have it in you to make wider circles, big enough to draw them in.  I hope you remember what matters, what lasts, how to keep reaching.  

Now as you stretch away, seeking your share of sunlight, just don't forget how deep your roots are.

Where your heartground is. 

How to come home no matter how far you travel.

Let there be somewhere in your busy, buzzing life a quiet place where you can remember what your life once was,

the small and almost forgotten joys your past has passed through.

How success was so often made of fresh air and patience and perseverance.

How play lightened what had to be done, no matter how drudgeworthy the duty.

Try to remember, even when everything everyone is telling you sounds a little cheesy, a little corny, a little over done

even when your view is blocked by facades and fakery --

remember to open your eyes and see what marvelous chances are open to you.  More than at any earlier time in history your voice can be heard, your choices can make changes.

 Our future lies in your good hands.

I believe you will always, eventually,  find others whose companionship will make any task less a task,

who will walk the good path with you.

But in all your hurry to get where you're going,

don't forget you already carry with you a map made of all the places you've already been.

That you already know how to work your way around obstacles.

That you may be overlooking hidden strengths standing right beside you

That no matter how far apart we are, you have love always right behind you.  And ahead of you.  And around on every side.

Don't forget that.


Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Oh M., what a grand post. I think you should make this into a little hardback book that she takes with her everywhere. The Places She Will Go.

Melissa said...

sniff. What a beautiful send off, EmmaJane. I want to be a mommy like you have been (and are). Your children have experienced so many wonderful adventures and and learned so many interesting facts and lessons because of you and Fritz. They are greatly blessed!

suzanne said...

What goodness. What riches.

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