Childhood · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 52: Back to the Heart of it All | Everyday Nostalgia

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My daughter, Zoey, rests her forehead against the Plexiglas pane of the plane window beside her. Outside, the air is frigid, causing each tiny breath she exhales to leave a piece of itself behind. As if by magic—and much to Zoey’s delight—small, white halos crystallize before her eyes, only to fade as quickly as they’ve appeared.

This simple wonder keeps her occupied, helping the minutes pass, until the engine of the plane rumbles, announcing that our departure will soon take place.

At the sound, Zoey turns to me, her eyes dancing.

“We’re almost there!” she announces in a voice loud enough that surely all the other passengers can hear.

I can’t help but smile.

“Really?” I ask, pointing to the unmoving ground outside the window. “How’s that possible? We haven’t even left yet!”

She gives me a look that suggests I have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about. Continue reading “Week 52: Back to the Heart of it All | Everyday Nostalgia”

Childhood · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 51: Just One More, Mommy | Everyday Nostalgia

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The street lamp outside my window is casting forth just enough light for me to make out the edges of my mother’s face. Her broad, high cheekbones curve down toward her chin, and her strong, straight nose slices across the darkness of my room.

Moments before, she closed our last book of the night and switched off my lamp, and now here she is, laying beside me, her fingers tracing shapes on my back, her quiet voice telling me a story.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Corey…

From my spot on the bed, in the dim light, I can faintly see the pictures hanging on the wall across from us. My eyes settle on the one with the small, wooden frame, the one that holds tiny words written in pastel, cross-stitched threads:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ’til tomorrow,
For babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow,
So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep,
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Though I’m still little, I am old enough to know what the saying means: These moments won’t last so it’s best we hold them close. Continue reading “Week 51: Just One More, Mommy | Everyday Nostalgia”

Childhood · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 49: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall | Everyday Nostalgia

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The dim light of early day finds me standing in my bedroom, performing what has become an unfortunate morning ritual of mine.

I turn left, then right, and then twist around completely and glance over my shoulder. I feel myself frown as I let out an audible sigh.

I turn my body around one last time, determined to not give up just yet. I try straightening my back to make myself a little taller. I tuck my shirt into the front of my pants, and then, seconds later, I untuck it. I put my hands on my waist and angle myself sideways. I shift my weight from one hip and to the other. Finally, as a last resort, I squint, hoping that if I blur my vision, I’ll feel a little bit better about myself.

But I don’t.

Because staring back at me, in the mirror that hangs over my closet door, is a reflection I simply can’t stand: I see a girl who, just like me, looks completely defeated.

It appears neither of us like what we see. Continue reading “Week 49: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall | Everyday Nostalgia”

Childhood · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Week 48: Be Brave, Little One—And I’ll Promise To Do the Same | Everyday Nostalgia

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Dear sweet girl —

There we were, walking down the hall to our apartment, your feet moving slower than usual, your hand tightly gripping my own.

Normally the journey to our front door after school involves you dancing and twirling so that your hands are in the air instead of wrapped up in mine. Normally you are chattering away, singing a silly song, happily laughing as your smile casts extra light into the fading day.

Yet there you were, quiet and close beside me, doing none of these things.

I tell myself you are tired, but I know better: because I can read between your lines—the ones that I’ve grown to know over the past six years—I know something else is going on.

I stop walking, and your stride stops, too. I kneel down in front of you, and when we’re face to face, our eyes meet, and I look at you, open and waiting.

Because I know that’s all it ever takes, that simple acknowledgement that I’m here, ready to listen, and, just like I expected, you finally speak. Continue reading “Week 48: Be Brave, Little One—And I’ll Promise To Do the Same | Everyday Nostalgia”

Childhood · family · Holiday · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 47: Finding Holidays in the Everyday | Everyday Nostalgia

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It is Thanksgiving, and I’m sitting in my living room, watching the afternoon light as it starts to fade away from the day.

My apartment is dark and quiet. In my kitchen, there is no turkey waiting to be carved. In the oven, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole are nowhere to be found. There are no rolls, mashed potatoes, or canned cranberries set out in serving bowls. The seats at my kitchen table are empty, leaving the surrounding space devoid of the low din of happy conversation that normally comes with the holidays. There is nothing happening here that even remotely resembles the nostalgic way Thanksgiving always used to feel to me as I was growing up: rich, full, and abundant.

The only thing here is me, curled up underneath a blanket in the corner of my couch, drinking a cup of tea, staring up at the twinkling lights of my Christmas tree, thinking about how it’s Thanksgiving afternoon, I’m alone, and there is no pie.

It is a combination that has the potential to end poorly.

Very poorly.

But as I look up at those tiny, white lights, my thoughts thankfully drift to something else.

Continue reading “Week 47: Finding Holidays in the Everyday | Everyday Nostalgia”