335ffae1a16878da663f48464351b2e3I need to apologize for being “absent” the last couple of weeks. Spring weather in Ohio has been playing havoc with my body. Between the joint aches and the headaches, getting home from work at the end of the day is the best I can do. But this blog isn’t about complaints; it’s about blessings, so we aren’t going to concentrate on that.

Memories. They’re those snippets of time, pieces of your mind, who make you who you are today. We have good memories and we have not so good memories.

I once had a conversation with one of my sisters about the fact that I have very few memories of when I was a little child. I envied her memories.

My momma died from cancer when I was just barely 5 years old. In fact, she was gone less than 2 weeks after my birthday. How many memories or pieces of my mind can I have in just 5 years? The earliest I can remember would have been that summer of 1961, months before she passed away. At least I think it was that summer; perhaps it was before then … who knows? I don’t! LOL

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Those few snippets of my mind are mostly good ones. My oldest sister L helping to make tea and Kool-Aid for when she got home from Novena. Sitting on the sidewalk with my sister P on Saturday mornings watching for the brides to come out of the church across the street. Making outlines of our dream “house” out of leaves. Sitting patiently (?) waiting for my turn to have my hair braided. The day grandpa brought me a tricycle.

The very best memory was towards the very end. I was home alone with Momma in the afternoons because I only went to kindergarten in the mornings and the other kids were in school. She would make me home-made potato chips and we’d “nap” together. She’d stroke my hair. I can feel her stroking my hair just thinking about it. Being my momma’s child is definitely a blessing!

There’s also those not so great memories.

Crying in fear every time I heard the noon fire siren. Watching L set up the crucifix and candles for Fr. Snow to come over every week to pray with Momma. Visiting her at the hospital and seeing her cry as she lay there … so skinny and so weak. Sitting on the bed when Daddy told us that she wouldn’t be coming home from the hospital any more. The day several months later when we were taken from the only home I knew.

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Then move onto the years between 5 and 17. There are huge chunks of time that seem to be blocked from my mind. Where did those pieces of my mind go?

Those few good memories always involve my uncle who took me in. Visiting Santa’s Village and Frontier Town. Brushing my hair when I was little. (Just like my momma stroking my hair, that memory is so vivid!) Being so gentle as he put a Band-Aid on my scraped knee. Driving to Maine every summer. Teaching me to bake on Saturday mornings. Just sitting together enjoying the silence when it was just the 2 of us at home. Sitting on the floor at his feet to watch TV. Helping me with my shorthand when I was in high school.  He was my protector. I often thank God that it was he who chose to take me in. Definitely a blessing!

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Other good memories were when I spent time with my girlfriends Deb and Theresa. They were my life line. My escape from abuse. More blessings!

The not-so-great memories of that time usually involved my aunt. The control. The physical and emotional abuse. I’m not going to get into all that here. That’s a story in itself. That’s NOT a blessing. (If you’re a family member who never believed any of that, oh well. It is what it is.)

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Then there was the short period of 17-20 that involved a very abusive relationship … physical, emotional, sexual … that I wish I could say I’ve blocked out of my memory.

Then my life took a huge change. I met my husband, found true love, had the most awesome son in the world … and the rest is history. This is where the pieces of my mind collect into the best 35 years of my life … and the making of memories for the next 35 years.

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I remember our first kiss. Our first dance. The trust and laughter I’d forgotten how to experience. Our wedding day. Getting a text every morning from the hubster telling me he loves me (yes…E.V.E.R.Y. morning!).

The day I laid in the hospital staring at my little monkey-boy thinking, “what the hell was I thinking when I decided I’d make a great mom?” The countless baseball and soccer games in all sorts of weather. Getting a voice mail from the grown kid checking on us after a bad storm. Hearing him say, “Love you, momma!” Watching him graduate from college, being so happy and crying so hard I started to hyperventilate.

Girlfriend “dates”, movies, retreats and laughter.

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That’s not to say there are some sad moments. There were the daily visits to the fertility specialists. The countless miscarriages. The loss of loved ones. The heartbreak of losing a relationship with someone you thought was a true friend. The intense fear when you find out your kid was in a horrible car accident. Or when your heart breaks when his is broken by a girl.

But all those pieces of my mind made me who I am today. I like who I am. Does that make me arrogant? Nope. Self-absorbed? Certainly not.

Confident? Yes. Happy? Yup.

Grateful for all those memories, good or bad? Most definitely!

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