Growth,  Life,  Memories,  parenting,  Teens

Sweet Memories and a Couple of Insects

I don’t know about you, but for me, these days of staying at home have brought on some raging cases of nostalgia. Sweet memories flood back at the most unexpected times, and I am 100 percent here for it. Time passes rapidly, and I want to remember every detail.

Because I’m with my teenagers every waking (and non-waking) minute, I find myself spending so much time just staring at them. It has actually gotten a little out of hand. It’s mind boggling to me that they are nearly full grown people with nearly full grown faces and nearly full grown personalities. I can’t stop staring.

They don’t appreciate the staring so much as they find it incredibly creepy and annoying. So I have to do my staring in secret, like when they first wake up and have one eye closed as they’re toasting their Toaster Strudel. That is the time to stare at them, standing there in their capri length pajama pants that never had any original intention of being capri length.

Note to self: We have GOT to go shopping as soon as the stores open up again.

Anyway, lots of togetherness has made me so appreciative of this extra time with my girls because as we all know, they grow so fast. One day you blink and they’re driving away once and for all, never to return. Except hopefully to come home with all their laundry and to eat all your food and stay with you for a whole month at Christmas time.

With both of them in high school now, they are rapidly becoming independent people who no longer look to me for entertainment. So it took me by surprise the other night when my newly promoted freshman pulled out one of our old favorite games.

Spot It!

Oh, my goodness, this game brought back memories! If I close my eyes really tight, I can almost hear the bickering and accusations of cheating and shouts of, “I said ‘PURPLE HAND THINGY’ first!!!”

So we started playing and I was amazed – AMAZED – at how difficult this game actually is. I had no idea. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to spot a matching picture on two simple playing cards, but make no mistake. Not only did it cause me to realize that I probably really need glasses, it also occurred to me that my mental reflexes need some serious work.

We laughed and played for over thirty minutes.

Then, we found ourselves looking through old photo albums. I’m a sentimental hoarder, and our bookshelves are bursting with albums from every stage of our lives. We even have my husband’s childhood albums, which I treasure more than words can say. His mom was the original scrapbooker – before the fancy tools and stickers were ever a gleam in anyone’s eye. She put together scrapbooks in those bulky albums with the sticky pages and the plastic covers. She included funny quotes and pictures clipped from magazines. Her photo albums truly tell a story. I could look at them for hours.

A couple gems from our trip down memory lane…

Early 1990’s Scrapbooking, Exhibit A.
Yes, we were high school sweethearts. Awwww.
A picture of a picture, but you get the idea. This memory just about knocked the air out of me.

As we were wrapping up our evening, I took one more lap around the memory lane block.

I loaded the albums back on the shelves, and turned to go do my evening routine of obsessively checking every lock in the house.

As I looked up, it came as a great shock to find an enormous roach, resting comfortably on the wall next to my bedroom.

You need to know that roaches – real roaches – truly don’t exist here in Colorado. They live only in the deepest, darkest recesses of my memory. They come from a time long, long ago, in East Texas where I grew up.

We Lived Smack in the Middle of the Piney Woods.

Not only were enormous cockroaches familiar, they were practically considered family.

I mean, you’d be eating dinner and turn to look and suddenly there’s a roach standing next to you asking for a bite.

Seeing a roach on the wall in my Texas childhood home wouldn’t have been at all surprising. We grew accustomed to simply throwing the nearest shoe in the roach’s general direction. Or, if we were less lazy, we’d grab the can of Raid. However, spraying a continuous stream of poison while bolting in the opposite direction isn’t always effective.

In some unfortunate situations, the roaches were known to fly directly at your head as they escaped. It’s as terrifying as you would imagine.

But to see a roach in Colorado? Unheard of. After living here for almost four years, I have finally begun to recover from the post-traumatic stress of Texas-sized insects. So it came as an enormous relief to find, upon further investigation, that this roach was actually a giant moth.

Whew.

Long story short, my brave husband managed to capture the moth with ease. That’s the other difference. The moth didn’t move at speeds invisible to the naked eye. It just sat perfectly still, like it was playing a game of Simon Says and someone forgot to say “Simon”.

My husband simply cupped his hand over the moth and causally walked down the stairs. He opened the door and let it fly free with his other butterfly wannabe friends.

Problem solved.

It was quite a night for my sentimental heart.

Between playing a game from my girls’ toddler days, to looking at old photographs of our family, to remembering my growing up years spent with the roaches of East Texas, my remembrance bucket was overflowing.

Sometimes I think that’s what we need. Reality and present circumstances can steal our joy if we let it. We can find ourselves wrapped up in the here and now and those sweet memories easily fade into the background.

If you have the opportunity I highly recommend digging into your past memories. Pull out old photo albums. Maybe even watch old home videos! But I will offer a word of caution. This is an activity I can only partake in if I’m in a really healthy place. Even on my best day I’m reduced to a puddle of mush at the sight of my girls’ impossibly squishy baby cheeks and the sound of their lispy toddler voices.

Memories are God’s way of easing the heartache caused by the rapid passage of time. I think He knew moms wouldn’t be able to handle watching their kids grow practically overnight, so he created a way for us to store those moments in our heart forever.

It would have also been nice if He had decided not to create cockroaches.

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