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Last night I went to my mom’s house and stole my history– grabbed my memories, like a thief in the night. Since many were so painful, I’m not sure why I wanted them–except that they were mine. I frantically opened every drawer, closet and trunk, until I found the photographs that meant that I existed, and was once a child.

I stared at the little girl in the airplane, hair flying in the breeze, in a baby-doll dress-trying to believe that she was me. Was I ever that child? Or did I always carry these burdens– this heavy baggage that weighs me down with each step.

My parents divorced when I was 2, and there are very few pictures of my dad. (Only the sound in my head, of my mom’s voice through all my life, telling me how bad he was.)

And there I was under the Christmas tree, with a package bow in my hair, eyes sparkling, next to my cousin, Jack. Happy and smiling at my grandmother’s house–the only place I truly felt safe.

My mom remarried, and I had a little brother. “Now we’re a family!” I shouted, at the news of his birth. I loved him with all my heart. What a beautiful baby he was! (But we never knew each other either, beyond those early years.)

And all the high school pictures followed-as I blossomed from a little girl into a young lady. My proms and graduation. My first real love.

My simple wedding– nothing fancy, but full of hope and promise. Two children, playing house.

My promotional pictures as a professional singer, with my first husband, Gary. So many dreams, and lots of time to make them come true. Or so we thought…But as we grew up, we also grew apart.

Then a new love followed.  I was still young, and full of passion and fire. Never have I felt as loved, as in the beginning. He was all that I ever dreamed of, and he made me feel cherished–for a time.

Another wedding-a real one this time. A beautiful bride with so much glow (and excitement) behind the eyes. Life was a great adventure!

Heartache and pain came along, but we held on, and weathered the storms, learning the true meaning of love.

Adopted a child, age 3. A beautiful little girl, with my long hair and big, round eyes– Chelsea Danielle. (I vowed that I would be the mother that I had always needed.) But she was troubled and full of anger. Slowly, we taught her how to trust and love. We didn’t give up on loving her pain away, but it was never easy or idyllic.

Then my birth dad died, before I had the time to truly know him. I visited in the summers as a child, and a few days at Christmas, but I longed for more all my life, and now it could never be.

And there’s Sam-my stepfather (since age 7.) We didn’t get along at first, but one of the most amazing stories of healing in my life, is how we grew to love each other more, with each passing year, after I was an adult. It wasn’t until after his death, that I realized that he represented security to me. I always said that if the world broke, he could fix it. But when he died, that was no longer true.

And there’s my mother through the years. Many different looks–many different moods. It’s almost like I never knew her either. But I loved her. I tried so hard to please her, but I’m not sure that I ever really did. Yes, now she favors my grandmother with each passing year, but only on the outside. (We do become our mothers after all.) I pray that it doesn’t happen to me.

I am torn–these are my memories, but do I really want them? Or would they be better left in the suitcases of yesterday? But if I don’t take them, who will pass them on for other generations? Will our story quietly die in an old musty trunk? Will they bring more tears than smiles in the years to come?

I go through each book-wanting to leave them all behind, and wanting to take them all. I settle on a compromise. I will take some of them-a few here and there, because after all, they are my memories. Now that my mom and I are estranged, I may never get another chance to gather my past from the yellowing pages. (If she finds that some are missing, I can make copies to appease her.) But now that her mind is fading rapidly, she’s not as likely to notice that my childhood is missing. (That’s okay, it’s been missing for a long time.)

Last night I got it back…

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

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2 Comments

  1. Absolutely you should take them. They are a part of you, your essence, who you are and how you got here, to this point. Your life has held many small journeys in its’ amazing larger journey. This path of healing that you have started; it is a path that will one day bring you to a greater understanding of you and your feelings…and you will look back, not with resentment, not with anger and not with sadness. You will look back with a “knowing” and greater understanding. Perhaps you will even feel ‘sorrow’ not for you but for your mother because of who she was and had to be to get through life and you will feel ‘strong’ not because of her but because of how you were able to rise above the pain and like a flower, blossom into a calmer, more relaxed and self-assured “self”. You are on your way…time is the best healer. Have faith that God is guiding you now, unlike ever before, and you are listening intently to what he is saying. You are good enough and strong enough and smart enough…keep fighting. You can do it. You WILL do it!

    Hugs~

  2. What a beautiful, encouraging post. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words of inspiration. Yes, I must follow My Heavenly Father’s voice now. He will lead me. Thank you again. Many Hugs-Sparkle (Lonnette)


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