Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A new chapter

But what do you do, if that last chapter is unforgettable? 

Earlier this summer I was given the chance to reflect on myself as a child. I found one thing that's been with me always is a strong love for writing. This love stems from a part of me I call The Storyteller. 

The girl who has tons to say because she loves to share experiences with others. Sharing stories helps us relate to one another, to realize that we're all really fighting the same battles, despite different faces and different experiences, inwardly our souls are all the same.

We all have a pretty tough time with change, and an even tougher time tackling closure. I've had to do both this summer. 

In my last week in NJ my Nani (mom's mom) passed away. It wasn't a total surprise, but she was healthy just a few weeks/month earlier so it did hit us hard. Why it really hit us all was, because Nani's always been such a central part of our family. Nothing brought her more joy than all her kids and grand kids all in one place, happy together.

My husband shared some simple yet wonderful words with my sisters and me to make us realize how so much is passed on from generation to generation.

'Nana and Nani were the glue that bonded your wonderful khandaan (extended family) together and now you have their memories with which to uphold that bond. Mom is a true embodiment of what Nani has passed down, her nature, her joyous personality and her 'Spartan Warrior' attitude. All of you sisters have a piece of her in you so treasure that and hope to pass on some of that to the next generation.' 

I see it now. One major part of my Nani's personality that anyone can tell you is she made friends effortlessly everywhere she went, never hesitating to help someone even if it was to share tips/stories and fun chatter. Thats just how my mom is, and I suppose thats where my storyteller/extrovert side comes from too.

Thinking of all this, another trait of my mom's that I've inherited is our emotional strength.  A general image of women always shows that we cry easily, that we weakly succumb to our emotions. Not my mom and I. We focus all our energy on what needs to get done and find every means possible to avoid confrontation with how deeply our emotions affect us. I don't like crying publicly, it doesn't mean I'm not scared sad or anxious, I just don't find it productive to spend time crying about something I can't change. Some of my most productive hours are when I'm feeling upset, in fact this entire summer was more productive than many past years have been! 

So the days now when I miss home, mom, Nani, sisters, friends and everything that's familiar to me, I remind myself of the tools my past has given me; a positive upbeat spirit that keeps on keeping on. 

I know I'll make new friends in due time, Nani wouldn't have it any other way. And I know when nostalgia is striking hard I'll find loads of laundry and dirty dishes that need to be tended to. 

The 19 hr drive down from NJ to FL had many moments where I was quiet in my glum thoughts of an amazing past chapter. Most people leave their hometown when they first start college or get married, yet here Iam doing it 5 years into marriage and 2.5 into motherhood. But a part of me was still not ready to let go. Then, we stopped somewhere in Georgia and I got my first real taste of southern sweet tea, it came with some free advice I couldn't help but think my Nani was sharing with me:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Finding Me.

One of the personal goals I had set for myself recently was to get more in touch with my inner self. Marriage, motherhood, a job; they all sort of cloud us with daily responsibilities and as much as that self defines our being so does the self that existed prior to all those roles/duties.

Back at the end of June, in my attempt to rid our place of unnecessary items, I convinced my mom to also empty out her attic so we could do a joint garage sale.The best thing to come out of the sale was that we found many old items brimmed with precious memories.

I felt like a treasure hunter who had uncovered a goldmine in those boxes and boxes of old pictures, flooding back memories of my cheerful childhood. I found old scrapbooks and slam books from middle school, stirring up memories of 7th grade where my best friends and I would pass back and forth a composition book filled with our daily woes. Woes that seem so silly now. The irony will never escape me of how we came upon that past which so quietly sat up in the attic for years, just in time for me to say goodbye. All owed to that useless garage sale, how I owe it so much.

My sister also found my old school agenda books and told me I had a creepy obsession with documenting every single day of my life. Literally, I would write down what we did everyday throughout the summer. I had been doing this on and off since I probably learned how to write in 1st-2nd grade.

It made me realize that I'm someone who truly cherishes memories a lot. I love writing them down, even the daily mundane things we did as a way to capture it. To me, the 'now' was so special I was certain I would come back to it one day in the future and be thankful for everything I wrote down. We all love to glorify the past, in our mind it becomes nothing short of rosy. Memories of high school days, college life and those early years of marriage pre-parenthood; thinking back to those times we're left with a glazed look and a nostalgic grin. What I'm realizing now is that my past, these past 18 years of life in this town has truly been a memory that I will not over glorify, it is a memory I cannot cherish enough!

It's time to say goodbye to a massive chapter in my Life book. Our apartment has been emptied, keys turned over.  Meanwhile, mail has already started arriving at our new address and boxes have been moved in eagerly awaiting their owners. For the past two months I haven't allowed myself to be consumed with the reality of how quickly this chapter was ending. I couldn't deal with it, I had an apartment to pack up, full time job to perform, movers to contact, and a two year old to appease among all these changes. Now, with my IPhone reminder telling me we have 5 days 7 hours and 45 mins until we officially leave NJ I have decided to allow myself to feel reality. 

I'm leaving behind not just my family and close friends who I will severely struggle to live without, I'm leaving behind everything I've ever known. Everything that made me who I am. I'm grateful to have had the past few months to appreciate these 'good old times', to be given the opportunity for closure and experience immense love from so many of the amazing people I am fortunate to call my own. As I  wonder what this next chapter has in store for us, my heart aches for all that I leave behind.

 I know I will march on and so will this place without me. While we will go on living and doing what we do,  I also know both of us will never be the same. Our past is forever intertwined, and so are we.

All images via Google