Friday, October 16, 2009

Where I am from

We stayed with my family for a few days while our whole housing situation/job got worked out. The upside to this adventure is that I got to hit the storage shed. While looking for old family movies and not finding them because "oh! maybe they are in the other storage shed," I happened upon two huge containers labeled Carrie.

And what a find they were. My mother saved everything, and I mean everything. Baby clothes, floral containers from when I was born, drawings, letters, birthday cards, hospital receipts listing each accident/injury, poster boards with long explanations of mine, awards, ballet shoes, etc.

While lifting out each item from the boxes with my own daughter, I reflected that 1) My mom needed to watch Clean Sweep and 2) I was so thankful to my mother for saving it all. To smell the oldness. To read each word. To button those tiny dress buttons. To see, to feel, to remember.

Each item was me. My childhood. My memories. And it felt good to remember.

AND, to top it all off, I read an incredibly insightful and lovely blog post here inspired by this poem and just HAD to do it as well. Mine is quite long-- but do try this writing exercise yourself!

Where I Am From

I am from handmade clothes,
Winnie the Pooh decor,
Amish country
and homemade sticky buns.
I am from the front line of eleven children,
moments of mothering when I should have been playing,
but loving that role anyway.

I am from a life of travel,
experiencing every side of the country
and stopping at every historical battleground.
I am from bedtime stories of Davy Crocket,
western movies,
Titanic songs and a night sky with flying saucers.

I am from burning hot desert family vacations,
riding in a rusty station wagon with green vinyl seats,
sleeping six children in the back.

I am from swinging,
praying so so hard.
I am from long drives to church,
peanut butter cheese crackers
and homemade movies.
I am from nervous first days at school,
hoping to fit in
wishing I had hit puberty two years later.

I am from where the winds come sweep'n down the plains,
magazine collages and Braum's ice cream.

I am from humid summer days with wind in my hair,
random photo shoots in fields with cows,
red hot cinnamon candies in the basement
with musty smells and thrift store finds.

I am from courage,
wit and sarcasm,
fear of failure,
and surprising strength in the midst of trials.
I am from sitting on my orange couch in the attic,
lilac candles and
watching Christmas lights year round.

I am from a world where dreaming is encouraged,
where art is what we mold from our hands,
where creativity is burnt into your soul.

I am from an orange knit hat,
green vest,
white collared shirt
and torn jeans with water bottle in hand.

I am from the belief that schools should spend more money on the arts instead of football,
that you should laugh only after a two hour cry,
and that high school doesn't really prepare you for college.
College is much easier,
so chill a bit my high school math teacher.

I am from sitting under trees and reading poetry,
writing letters
and listening to Bach.

I am from the knowledge that I am from so much more,
that there is no beginning nor end,
that eternal love is felt when I look into the eyes of my child,
and that every being on earth has a heart that is good.


Mommy #1 said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you! I am going to do it, too! It's amazing as a mother to have moments where you remember; especially in a world where we focus on de-cluttering and getting rid and running faster and faster and faster and not enjoying each moment but always reaching to the next. . . . I think it would do my mom's heart good to know I appreciate the things SHE saved, and now I am thinking about what I want to leave that is personal for my children -- what they can look back on and . . . . remember. Thank you!

Stephie said...

I love going through old memories--it's the best! And your poem is lovely. I think I might give my own a try sometime. Thanks for sharing!

aimee heff said...


Bethanne said...

That was beautiful. I loved it!

matt and michelle ray said...

I did this writing exercise with my 3rd grade class a couple years ago and it was very neat. Then I sent it out and had my family each fill one out. It was cool to read how different and yet similar each was. :)

Kristie and Ryan said...

That gave me chills numerous times. There's more to each of us than we ever think about. Love you!

linda said...

so beautiful...made me cry.. call clean sweep.. need intervention.. love mama

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