Monday, 27 January 2014


As I write this I am listening to the Bliss episode of Radiolab. At the top of the episode they talk about "perfect" moments. I started racking my brain for perfect moments in my life that I could recall. It's times like these that I wish I was more of an archivist. I did however think of a recent perfect moment that I'd been trying to share,
but just couldn't find the proper platform to do so. 

My grandmother died when I was 13. She and I were very much alike. Her death was the first one I ever had to deal with and it hit me hard. Over the years it feels like the shockwaves have gotten less extreme and further apart,
but I think that's an event that will continue to reverberate throughout my life.

Gram was the self-proclaimed family historian. She saved every newspaper clipping, picture, receipt, and report card, and would regale me with tales of growing up in New Jersey with 9 brothers and sisters during the 1930s and 40s. 
While I was home to visit my family for Thanksgiving I spent a night up in our attic just going through our family photos. I found pictures of my father and his siblings celebrating various Christmases, old photo booth pictures of my mom and Aunt Susan, and unfocused shots of my grandmother posing in a bathing suit.
I even found a box of some of my old clothes of mine that
I was certain had disappeared and now belonged to the ages.
There were Mariah Carey tapes and old letters and gifts from teenage boyfriends.
My favorite find however, was tucked into an old plastic wallet insert that appeared to have belonged to my father.

"Happy Valentine's Day"

"What do you expect from a passport picture"

I clutched this photo to my chest and tried to stifle my laughter while my parents were asleep 
in their bedroom below me. Everything about this picture, this message, and this moment is perfect.

My parents started dating when my father was 18 and my mother was 21. They celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary this past Saturday. If I had to guess, I'd say this was from either their second or third Valentine's Day as a couple. My mother's handwriting is still exactly the same, as is her disdain for photos of herself. 

I feel like as a kid, you never consider your parents had a life before you, and when you get the rare opportunity to get a glimpse of what that world looked like, whether it's through photos or stories, 
there's something so personal and profound about those moments. 
It's as if the big picture of who you think your parents are gets a new shade of paint added to it. 

There are so many things you don't know about your family. So many things. And there are so many things about yourself that your family doesn't know. Think of all the moments that shaped you as a person, that your children will never know. It's overwhelming.

I always considered my parents the epitome of "having it together." It's fascinating to learn as you grow up and as your relationship with your parents evolves (if you're lucky enough to have a relationship with your parents), that they are simply fellow adults. You start to grasp the idea that they were once just as clueless as you feel, and to some extent I'm sure they still are. And while that could be a frightening thought, it's also a beautiful one. We're all in this plane of existence together, and nobody has the right answers. All we have is what feels right to us individually. All we can expect of each other is to do the best we can with what is put before us, and hopefully learn along the way. And what's best for you, might be too much to ask of someone else.

We're all children, learning and growing all the time. Coloring by numbers when we accept guidance, and choosing our own adventure when we are feeling the love and support of the people who mean the most to us.  I used to think there would come a point in my life where I had it all figured out and I could just relax, go through the motions, and be left alone. In reality, that is a death sentence. I think I'm starting to realize that as long as I'm living, I'm evolving. And that is exciting.

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