the importance of remembering
As Nico & I have been unpacking, organizing, and figuring out life as a married couple, (We love it!!), I have found myself finding little things to cause me to feel nostalgic. I found my Gameboy Advance SP (which Nico was really happy about and has already played it), but that brought back memories of playing against Rebekah & Elizabeth in our childhood. I found my little cube puzzle Dad made one Christmas that I’ve kept track of (for the most part) this whole time. And also discovering some new things and making new memories with Nico as we have opened Wedding Presents and been blessed by family and friends.
But I would love to share with you where my brain is at, and the fact that I haven’t written for fun in a very long time. Writing stories was something I used to do frequently when I was little, or even telling stories is a fun thing to do: sharing life with people. But I have a comforting and encouraging touchy-feely, sweet memory I would love to share with you.
It was one of the many trips throughout the year, when I was littler, up to Mimi and Papa’s house near Baldwin, MI – The car rides there were fairly similar, which involved us girls coloring, playing with Beanie Babies, watching movies, or sleeping a majority of the time. Even as we got older they were relatively the same, with the exception of more reading. But every trip had a rhythm to it,
Passing an open field,
Passing the same fence every time,
Seeing the red barn poke out around the bows of the trees,
Seeing Papa’s truck,
Seeing the giant gray tin garage,
The milk house,
The green green grass
Or the snow-covered stillness,
Pulling into the gray stone driveway,
Hearing the grind of stones underneath the tires
Or the squeaking of the fresh powdered snow
And depending on what time of day, you would hear the dogs barking or see them scampering around the snow or the grass with an uncontrollable excitement that is both overwhelming and so needed after a 4 & ½ hour drive.
Dad would start to unpack the vehicle as us girls would be pack mules bringing in things to the house one by one, and perhaps multiple trips, depending on how long we were staying.
You would hear Mom say, “aaaaaw Hi mom!” and you knew that, even if it was pitch black outside and midnight, Mimi was there to greet us with warm kisses, her fresh white-button down linen shirt, or her ‘jammies, and Papa with his button-down and strong arms for an unintentional bear hug.
Taking a deep breath in was one of the best parts. Because what you smelled was Mimi & Papa’s house. And you were excited because you knew that your pillows and blankets and clothes would smell like their house, even when you left to go home – and that sweet scent would be there to stay for a day or two along with all the love from Mimi and Papa and the memories.
Occasionally we would go salamander hunting in the woods with Dad, or mushroom hunting with Uncle Jay, or would run around the fields and down the super large hill, or roll down the steep one near the basement door just around the corner. (If it was warm & grassy, we’d always worry mom with the possibilities of numerous ticks! But Uncle Jay was really good at getting them off!) If it was snowy, we would build the best forts around because of the plow piles Papa would make because of the longer driveway. The dogs always would have fun too – They were always Britney Spaniels, and loved catching snowballs with their mouths. Reminder: Avoid YELLOW SNOW
But a treat, that didn’t come as often as we always hoped, would be going to Renee’s house. She was Mama Renee, Aunt Renee, Renee, Mom’s BFF, whatever we’d feel like calling her that day, she was okay with. She was Mama’s best friend from forever ago & would always love seeing her.
You knew when you go over, you would see a plethora of animals, whether that was chickens, the dogs, the cows, and the kitty (mother to Pepper!) named “Gray Kitty”. She was calm as could be, sometimes skiddish, but adorable in every way. But the animals weren’t even the best part!
We would always hang out with Jed & Taylor, whether that was going on the Quad, Snowmobile, catching chickens, playing in the pool, sledding or attempting to snowboard down the Hill of Ice, or playing random things in the basement with whatever we could find … Those were the days. But whenever you’re at Renee’s house, you would always smell coffee, cookies, popcorn, or other yummy treats (or all at once!). You knew you would be full and warm and content.
Stories would be told, whether past or present between Mama & Renee. Some goofy (after all, they were best friends growing up and throughout their lives), some about the life on the farm, or even teacher stories that would always be interesting. Yearbooks would be pulled out, stories of their relatives about the “Carr Settlement”: the area in which they grew up in before anything even became a “town”. . .
We could stay there for hours.
And sometimes we did.
But one of the best memories that we always share whenever we went to Renee’s …
Much earlier than this “Hipster” movement, or eccentric culture; throwing it back to the more simple life: Gray Kitty’s corner in the garage, the soft and squishy carpet of the family room, to the laundry room full of wet snowsuits and dripping boots, gloves and mittens lined up along the heater…
We would be drinking milk or water or juice from her Mason Jars. These were her “normal cups” for everyday uses, and her dishwasher would be lined with them. We always thought it strange, but just a funny little thing when you’re at Renee’s, because we didn’t know anyone else who would’ve done this.
Little did I know that all these years later, I would remember these times with such fondness. With such appreciation and warmth from these memories.
It is so calming, so encouraging – to remember.
To think back upon a time where you felt such joy, remembering in a distant yet comforting kind of way.
The ones that you can see bits and pieces of, but can’t quite remember every detail. But knowing that it’s okay because the things you do remember were the important ones, the ones where God obviously wished for you to remember. The ones you hope to re-make someday with your future family…
Yet I reminisce on these little details because something sparks the sentimental artery in myself. Nico & I were opening wedding presents (I’m still working on Thank You cards!) and we opened the gift from Bill & Renee,
And there they were,
A 12 pack of Mason Jars
*cue my tears*