I love the way that memories paint a picture of your life. By just being still and thinking for a few minutes I can relieve so many significant moments...
...It's the last day of first grade at St. Margaret Mary's elementary school. It is a bright, sunny, warm June day as my mom and I walk out of Ms. Kay's classroom for the last time. As we reach the parking lot I can't hold it in any longer and I start to cry. "I don't want school to be over, I love school!" I couldn't comprehend a whole summer without my classroom, teacher, books, and learning.
... Early morning in the fall of my freshman year at Carroll. I am terribly homesick, but trying to push through it and make the most of my first months of college. Mornings were the hardest, I still had the whole day to get through. I lay on my back in my loft, crying, missing the familiarity of home, dreading another day at school.
... I'm young, 4 or 5 maybe? It's summer and my brothers and I are outside playing with my godmother Monie while my parents are out for the night. They all decide it would be the perfect time for me to learn to ride my bike without training wheels. As dusk settles into our neighborhood I ride my bike for the first time, amazed by the feeling and so proud of myself.
... I am 15 years old, and it is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Winter is slowly replacing fall, and the late afternoon skies are grey. I get off the school bus at my stop, and Mike gets off one stop early to walk part of the way home with me. My hands are sweaty inside my mittens. I like him, and there are butterflies in my stomach. As we reach the corner where we go our separate ways, 15 year old Mike, my future husband and love of my life, stops, turns towards me and grabs my hand and says "This year, I am thankful for you". I then proceed to float the rest of the way home.
... I am 19 years old, it is August, and I am standing at the kitchen sink washing out the vases from the many bouquets of flowers sent to my mom since she was admitted to the hospital a week ago. I am home alone, waiting to hear from my dad about the results of her exploratory surgery that morning. I feel good, hopeful even, and hum to myself. My dad walks through the door, and simply with the look in his eyes and the words "I'm sorry, Sarah", we are thrust back into the world of cancer.
... I am sitting at the kitchen table in my grandma's small kitchen. She places a plate of white bread smeared with real butter, cut into triangles, down in front of me. We then sit and gaze out the window, watching the birds at her feeder. Later that afternoon I put together a puzzle with Poppy, my grandp. It is the one with Mickey Mouse baking a birthday cake, the same one we put together every week I come over.
...I am 22 years old, standing in a dressing room surrounded by mirrors at my first wedding dress fitting. I am alone. I look at myself in the mirror, in the dress that I will wear on my wedding day, and I am overcome by a huge range of emotions. I hold back tears of both grief and happiness. I can't decide which emotions outweighs the other: the pain over having to buy my wedding dress alone, something that should be done with my mom by my side, or the excitement and anticipation that in a few short weeks I will be getting married, surrounded by everyone I love.
...It is a Sunday, about 5:00pm, and just like every other Sunday for as long as I can remember I am at my grandparent's house. Their house is full, of both family and love. The men are on the porch watching TV or huddled around the snack table. My grandma is in in front of the stove, mashing potatoes and proclaiming that she "peeled 15 pounds of potatoes to make these, because my Sarah likes them!" We all sit down around the long dining room table. They place my cousin Kelly and I on opposite sides of the table, probably because we wouldn't get any eating done if we were next to each other. I look around the table and feel nothing but contentment. I am loved.
I could keep going forever. Each memory is so distinct, so different, yet they are all connected on this strand that runs throughout my life. I am so thankful for them. Memories are what make life so full.