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It's when life sends you stumbling into disaster that you know you're about to transform from something small and lonely into something beautiful.
Sometimes your mind makes you forget things that hurt you to protect you. ..I'm beginning to forget.
Trials are meant to test us, and if we endure it well, hard times will make us stronger and smarter.. but it doesn't do much good if you can't remember them.
The enrollment of Tracy's family in foreign service reminded me that if I didn't try to remember all the things I've already begun to forget--people I've met in my life, things that I've done, anything and everything before the year I turned thirteen--I could start to forget even the most precious thing in the world to me: my family.
Traci tells me that we used to have a Holly-Maggie bond. I couldn't stand to be away from her. When she went into the bathroom and locked the door, I would stick my two-year-old fingers under the door and call, "Ta cee... Ta Cee! Are you in there?" And I remember that.
Mom told me that her and Traci would hold my little hands and lift up my body and swing me back and forth as they walked. And one day my hands fell through Traci's fingers, and my head hit the concrete. I cried, and then Traci scooped me up in her arms and kissed my fuzzy head until her love made the pain go away. Mom never let her swing me again. And I remember that.
I was two. She was seventeen.
I also remember when we both started growing up. I became more independent, and she made mistakes that she never wanted me to know she made. We didn't grow up together, we grew away from each other. I was two, so I was more focused on growing up so I could be as smart and as beautiful as my mommy and aunt Traci than I was to let her swing me back and forth or stick my fingers under the door when I couldn't find her.
And then there was Margaret, Traci's daughter. When she was one, I held her in my arms while she drank her bottle, and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. She was the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen. I gazed in awe at her radiant blue eyes, and she stared right back into mine. From then on, we were inseparable. The thought of ever having to let go of this gorgeous baby made me want to cry. And I absolutely remember that feeling.
When Maggie was two, I was all she ever talked about. I was her "Ha yee." It seemed like she loved me so much, love was the only thing her tiny two year old self had room to feel. I heard the doorbell ring one day, and opened it to find Margaret gazing up at me with big sparkling eyes. She was so happy to see me, she started hyperventilating. She jumped for joy and squealed before finally entering the doorway and running into my arms. And I absolutely remember what it felt like for someone to love me so much they hyperventilated when they saw me.
She was two. I was twelve.
I also remember when we both started growing up. She became more independent, and I made mistakes that I never want her to know I made. We stopped growing up together, instead, we grew away from each other. I still loved her, but I didn't want her to know the side of me that I was becoming then. I'm sure that's the way Traci felt when she was in that position.
Now I look at Maggie and I wish she still loved me as much as she used to. I wish that I hadn't been a stupid brat when I was thirteen and just let her love me. I wish I reciprocated that love. And now I look at Traci and I only hope that she loves me as much as I love her. I watch Traci with my mom and Deanna, Traci and my mom’s youngest sister, laughing about Saturday's Warrior, or how Vampax tampons sparkle, and I would give anything to be like them. Or better yet, one of them: a brown girl.
Pain has made you stronger, and strength has made you beautiful to me.
I worry now that since you've just driven away on your way to your next adventure, and we won't see you for another two years, I'm going to miss out on more of you than I already have. I got to hold your beautiful three month old baby boy for a week, and I feel like that's just what I needed to help me get through. That was just enough to make me want to remember my life--at least my life before two years ago. Because those are the memories that my mind is disposing of.
Stupid brain.. you think you're so smart. Throwing away memories that hurt me, thinking that if I can't remember them, it won't hurt. But it still does, and now I can't remember why.
I'm sticking my two-year-old (but really fifteen-year-old) fingers under the door--trying so hard to remember what it is that's hurting me. Pretending that I never hurt in the first place won't make me stronger. It will make me weak. Now that I know that, I'm starting over again. I can acknowledge that this is a lie, this is the truth, and no matter what anyone else tells me, I am still loved. Acknowledgment will make me strong. And that will make me beautiful.
So I'm waving goodbye to you. Good luck on your adventure. Have fun in that mystery foreign country of yours, I'll see you on my senior trip. I'm still stumbling, but I've almost found my footing. And even as my jewelery makes my tears sparkle,
I'm turning into something beautiful.