There’s something so innocent, piercing and pure about laughter of children. There’s something that’s untainted, uncompromised, unblemished about their smiles and fits of giggles. I miss that feeling of being weightless, fearless, and invincible. The magic of feeling like there were no monsters under my bed, or living in my head. I miss the memories that I can’t quite reach.
The way they haunt me in my dreams–these faint whispers of times that were unstained. I miss the way they make me feel. I don’t have a love for Alice in Wonderland, but I get that sort of whimsy when I go to sleep at night. I say my prayers and wish for just another glimpse of life before the moment when everything changed.
I would reverse the clock if I could. I would pause it on the good moments and savor them. I would memorize everything about my father. I would remember the way that he walked, the signs on his face before he burst in laughter, the way that his smile could pierce the darkness. I would embed them into my spirit so much that they wouldn’t seem so fleeting when they scurry by me. I would stop on every hug and kiss and tongue-sticking out among my siblings. I would never forget anything that my nieces said. I would write it all down.
The reality is, I have these heart rooms and brain rooms FULL of useless memories. The ones that sneak up when I don’t want them to–the ones that scratch at the back of my waking thoughts–those are what I have left. Everything feels like sand slipping through my fingertips. I want the good memories, not the mediocre ones, not the bad ones. I want the very little moments that I never knew I needed to save.
Like Molly my first dog. Or the Thanksgiving when she gave birth to a litter of puppies beneath my bed. I would remember the smell of smoke on my Papaw when he would come to visit before he ever moved to Kentucky. I would remember the music that the icecream truck played, and every secret dream that I ever shared with Stephanie. I would remember the first time I met the Twins, or the hour that I knew that I was safe and secure.
Because I feel like there are days when I just bounce on shaky foundations. Memories float by and I can’t capture them. And the new ones, they seem so elusive as well. The summers filled with butterfly chasing (even though I could think of a million other ways to spend my days) the way that the girls light up when we play Tickle Monster or we play hide in seek. Hearing a hundred times that I can’t have magic and I don’t play fair because I don’t always let them beat me. Those memories will feel faint too.
There are some days when I don’t know if it is worth it, feeling so vibrant, infinite and alive, if I’m just going to lose them along the way.
But mason jars inside my spirit are filled with fireflies of memories, fading in and out of all the people I grow to love, and choose to keep loving. And that’s my life, and that’s okay.