When I was eleven, my dog Jubilee was put to sleep. She was …. a bit overprotective. Over the years she tried to protect me against a toy poodle, a passing car and then a horse … You get the idea. She protected us right into a lawsuit. But she had such soft ears, and she loved me.
They gave me her collar, and I hung it from a nail in the back of my closet. I didn’t cry. Not at the empty yard, not at her chewed up yellow food dish. A few months later, I was rumaging for something at the back of my closet and bumped her collar. The so familiar clink of her license tag hitting against her id tag set me suddenly sobbing.
I can still conjure up that little sound in my head.
I used to go to summer camp every year. I have letters from the friends I made, I have tshirts signed with “Keep In Touch” and “Don’t Ever Change!” I spent a fortune in film. And nothing has ever ever conjured up the memories of that place like the day I was in a diner and I wiped a napkin across my face. That napkin must have been the same brand as the kind used in that camp cafeteria. Isn’t that just the strangest thing? Napkins having a smell? And yet suddenly I could remember the black metal chairs with the red padding, wondering if I’d have any mail from home…
I make it such a point to capture the moments when I’m truly happy.
That vacation in Hawaii? I daily, faithfully stole hotel wifi to document it. Post cards, that magnet on my fridge, that local handmade Christmas ornament. And then one day dry skin has me rummaging in my travel bag and there’s that mostly empty lotion sample from the hotel. One whiff and I’m back between those yellow walls, watchin my little brother practice magic tricks.
Sometimes I think souveniers are useless. Memories pack themselves in your luggage, and unpack themselves when you least expect it. When you most need it.
I was sorting my laundry tonight.
I’ve been cautious around anything baby related since my miscarriage. Everyone warned me, and I think expected me to dissolve around Drea’s perfect little daughter, Audriana. And I didn’t. I’d given myself all the permission in the world to choke up around my pregnant friends and instead found myself only sharing their joy.
I almost wondered if I wasn’t a little bit cold. Compartmentalizing my memories so neatly.
And then, tonight with the laundry, I was matching up pairs of socks. And there was the black and blue pair of Betsy Johnson socks. Sharp as the lightning bold down the back of the ankle was my memory. Brady’s mother gave me these socks. They were the first contact we ever had actually.
Brady, newly armed with the knowledge that he’d accidently knocked up yours truely, got on a plane to visit his family for Christmas. And when he told his mother, she scrambled to assemble a gift to send home. She read my facebook page where I mentioned my love of cute socks and so on New Years Eve I found myself unwrapping some several pairs of glittery, outrageous socks. I felt so overwhelmed, so welcomed into their big, loving family, suddenly a part of something much bigger. I cried into them, my excuse at the time that I was pregnant and hormonal.
I cried over them again tonight. I was thinking of all that was best of that wonderful phase in my life. Funny that family was hiding in a pair of socks.