From Little Girl…to Wife…to Divorced Single Mom
Out of the blue, my aunt emailed me this photo tonight. I’m not posting it because I want you say I look cute. I’m showing it because it made me burst out crying.
Look at how innocent I was. My God, the face of an angel with hair so white. I keep wondering what I was like back then…but I don’t remember. I think I’m about four. I think I was a good kid, always easy to get along with, always wanting to please everyone. Yeah, mom always said I was a really good, easy child.
Look at my dress. I don’t remember it either. My mom used to make a lot of my clothes back then. In that era there was a lot of wacky, tacky prints and frills. But my mom dressed with me love and in my heart I knew I had a loving family, a safe unbroken home; that I was wanted and protected and taken care of. Through the window in the background I think I see my mom, her younger self. God, she must be younger than I am now. What was she busy doing? What never-ending line-up of motherly chores was she tending to? She had a family of four kids.
In my mind’s eye, I age me and I see me at 8, 10, doing cartwheels around this 4-year-old me, so happy, so playful, so free to live each day unencumbered. But I bring myself back to this 4-year-old me and ask myself again, “What were you like? You were newly here from the Other Side, a soul of pure light, your conscious mind untainted yet by life. What was your soul like?”
Still, I don’t remember. I sit and I wait for the feeling of her in my skin. And I can’t feel her. All I feel is a pain in my chest and tears in my eyes. How did I go from there…. her……to here?
My daughter is now four. And I’m going to show her this photo. She sometimes asks me if I was ever a baby or a little girl. She comments on the lines on my face and asks me why they’re there. “Because I’ve been here 38 years,” I tell her. “Everyone gets older.” I know she doesn’t understand time and how much living was required for me to get here. A part of me doesn’t want her to know, I want her to savor her ‘in-the-moment’ carefree happiness. And yet another part of me wants to tell her about this earth school of hard-knocks, to prepare her for this journey of tough self-love.
So I’ve stared and wept at this photo for awhile tonight. I feel the cargo I’ve added to my back over my lifetime, the heaviness that I am yet to amputate. Yet this photo brings me pause. It brings me back to the beginning, to my essence. It takes my breath away. And it makes me cry. Cause I don’t remember.