I had a lot of deep thoughts about traditions and memories at the holidays. Plans and hopes run awry and the agony of wanting to fulfill our own memories but the pain that lingered behind sometimes made them too salty to bear.
I have spent the last couple holiday seasons in transition, and instead of a list of resolutions I fond myself wanting to reclaim past goals and tie up lose ends instead. Not looking backward but tying it up in a bow so traditions and history can be written in the present instead.
It’s not my history anymore, it’s the background for two more lives.
Of course I start at the beginning.
Instead of the end, the rows of clothes, endless blue pants my mom was most fond of and the endless quilt projects planned but not undertaken.
My grandmother kept everything. Mo mom kept everything.
I have three china sets and nary a tea party to host.
I can only keep so much in my heart but most of what lies between certain walls need to go.
The long road of going through trash and treasure had yet to begin when Mariah Carey made her comeback, but some of the stuff I pulled out from my grand mother’s closet had seen me through hear earlier New Year’s performances when she could still hit those high notes and her hair bounced with curls.
Behind it, high school notebooks, notes.
Doll clothes, porcelain dolls and mementos.
No better places than to start where I was, I thought, thinking at the momentous task I had set myself to face.
Childhood wallets, movie tickets, library card.
High school graduation gown, transcendent purple yellow dress, boxes of memories folded into neat notes with ‘private’ in girlish cursive.
The KonMari Method, something I watched Youtube videos of millennial wives clearing out their closets over and downloaded Spark Joy in an effort to bring some aspect of m life under control (obviously unfulfilled, add to the list) has actually been useful.
What history belongs to my children? What history do I pass along?
What spark of her history brings a quick smile? What history do I let go.
I hadn’t done the easiest parts because I wasn’t sure how I would do some of the hardest ones.
Doing two generations of memories was quicker than one, since I was one of the last with any of that shared history.
My dolls wore those dresses too, but I have no one to pass them along to.
Marineland was lost before I had a chance to know it.
I’m trying in my own life to simplify and purge after a couple years of holding on, holding it together, holding firm.
The rock I became had to dissolve slowly, unseen, the scar like the cut in a cliff where water trickled over. The weight of the mountain came first.
And the task is marked overdue no, holding myself and others back.
Time for the change, for the spark of memory to ride up and be let go in turn.