I was sitting in my car this morning thinking about being the Mom of a 3 year old. Where did the last 3 years go? Then I put on a sweatshirt this morning for the Avon 3-Day walk. I stopped for a minute to try and figure out when I got the shirt, and realized that it had to have been either in '98 or '99, which was 10 years ago! Where did the time go? How is it possible that I have owned a piece of clothing that long? (Of course I have sweatshirts that are older, but go with me here.)
That got me thinking. What else can I mark time with? How many more things are so far in the past that they are becomming fuzzy with age and difficult to remember? Ah, the memories. Let's see...
As of November, Rob and I have been together for 10 years. Yup, that's right, 10 years. As of August, I have been in California for 12 years. 9 years ago this month, I was sworn into practice with the State Bar of California (no, I'm not sure I've learned anything of note in those 9 years.) My best friend Jen and I started hanging out in Health class in the 9th grade, fall of '88. That was 20 years ago! I've experience more of my life with her in it than I did before I met her. Nice, eh?
8 years ago I was in Cincinatti with Rob for Jen's wedding. We went to the Louisville Slugger factory and bought bats.
6 years ago I celebrated my first Hanukkah as a married woman, and had a party in our little condo in Sherman Oaks.
Three years ago this week I gave birth to B, and 3 years ago at the end of this week (I think it was on 12/7), I went back into the hospital, into ICU for post-eclamptic seizures. Fun stuff.
16 years ago I was a freshman in college. Yikes!
20 years ago I celebrated what would be the last Christmas with my dad. This is an interesting one. Dad died in March 1989. It will be 20 years that he has been gone this coming March. At the time, I would never have thought about it being our last holiday together, and I would have never thought about soaking up the memories - such that they were- to keep. You see, Christmas over the preceding 2 or 3 years had been nothing, if not interesting. The previous Christmas (when I was in 8th grade), my dad decided that he did not want us to open our presents. He had a fit on Christmas morning when we wanted to open them. So we didn't, and off we went to Grandma's without opening any presents. When we got home, we bugged and begged until he got upset and yelled at us to go ahead and open them. I remember my sisters and I looking at each other at that point, wondering if it was worth it to open them, for fear he would continue to yell at us. We ended up diving into the stack, and then he refused to open anything that we had gotten him. Very bizarre.
I can't remember if it was that year, or for a few years before that, he refused to let us get a live Christmas tree. It was tradition in his family to go out on Christmas Eve and get the tree out in woods on our property. When my aunt was home from the Air Force, she would take us out and we'd get one for our house and one for Grandma's house (next door). If she wasn't home, we'd go out with Uncle Rodney and Uncle Paul if he was home. It was usually a fun time, tromping through the woods covered in snow (or sometimes covered in mud and water), and then dragging our finds back to the houses to be put up. For some reason, one year dad decided that we couldn't go get one. He gave no reason, just said "no." And in those days, you didn't question his "no." I think the first time he did it, it was a few days before Christmas and we thought he was joking. We thought that we'd wake up on Christmas morning and find a tree, all decorated. We didn't. To get past that, we took a holiday fabric, stuffed tree that my mom had made and put it on a box covered with a red piece of fabric, and used that. The treeless- Christmases went on for a few years. At one point, I think Trix opted to defy the word of Dad and went out and got us a tree. I can't remember if that was his last Christmas or not. I'd have to go back and look at old pictures (if there are any) to see what we did.
It's unfortunate that those are some of my last memories of him. A holiday where he trampled on our spirits and on our joy, for some unknown reason, because of some hidden reason in his own mind. I vaguely remember happier holidays, but they are mired down in the cobwebs of the unhappy ones - memories of him yelling at us about cleaning the house and doing dishes, memories of him making us chop and haul firewood before we could open presents, memories of him just being angry for no apparent reason. I try to focus on the happier times, those that I can remember. I try to remember his laugh (I have a few pictures of him laughing) and I try to see past the unhappy times. It's been so long that I can't remember what his voice sounded like. I can't really remember ever getting a hug from him (But I do remember the belt or yardstick across our butts when we didn't listen quick enough), and I am pretty sure he never told me that he loved me, and if he did, I can't remember.
I guess I take from this what I can - a resolve that Brooklyn will grow up with happy memories of the holidays, that Brooklyn will know that I love her and if anything ever were to happen to me, that Brooklyn's happy memories of me would heavily outweigh any unhappy ones there might be. I try. I guess somewhere in my mind, I know that he tried too. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.