It is going on five o'clock and the sun is still as bright in the sky as it is midday. The longer hours of sun and the stretching shadows on the emerging grass tell of another winter's (hopeful) passage.
The boys are outside riding bikes up and down the street and I am inside preparing dinner. No longer do I stand in the driveway watching every pass up and down the street, keeping my eye on any possibility of a fall, or a bump, or a coming car. My boys are wise enough to watch for themselves on our quiet cul de sac.
When we first moved into this house a year and a half ago my mom brought over a huge box too heavy for her to lift unassisted. Inside were journals I'd written in high school and college, scripts from shows I'd been in, a few awards and medals, letters friends had written to me, sheet music from my favorite solos, and poetry from admiring young men who had pledged their devotion to me. I searched further into the huge box and found poetry and letters I had written. I thought of how pathetic that girl was as I read her letters begging those same admiring young men to love her still, and felt badly that we shared a body. How different I was once upon a time.
I read the girl's excitement at new love. I peeped in on some of the most intimate thoughts and remembered them as if they were mine. Are mine. As I read I felt her wavering esteem and listened to her crack under loneliness. My heart broke for that girl all over again.
It is so odd looking back and seeing how far I've come. In both good and bad ways. I am so sorry for the girl that I was. And yet very proud too. All the good and the bad, I'm glad she (I) went through it. Bringing me to exactly where I am today. Where I am supposed to be.
I'll hang on to that box. Every once in a while I'll look at it and I'll remember. I'll remember how I was on stage (they said I "glowed"). I'll remember that once upon a time I was a girl that young men would write poetry about (though I always thought I was quite plain). I'll remember my wild teenage emotions (the height of happiness and the bottom of depression). I'll remember the devastating heartbreak and sorrow (the hopelessness, the loneliness). I'll remember it all. I know it will come in handy again someday. Time is marching on and one day my own will have the same emotions I did. They will come to me with their heartbreak and their sorrow and I will comfort them. Watching them hurt will be worse than my own pain. But I will understand. And I'll be there for them. Because I will remember.