August 4, 2014

One Thousand Words

No, not this one.

This one.
And it's only worth 1,000 words to me.  I decided to take this photo at the moment I realized that although I've come full circle geographically speaking, I am light years from where I once was. You see, I snapped this picture on a Saturday afternoon while visiting the neighborhood where I grew up.  Well, one of the neighborhoods.  We moved.  A lot.  More on that later.  Maybe.

What you see in this photo is the cluttered floor of the passenger seat area in my SUV.  There are audio book sets from the library and a Phineas & Ferb soundtrack that Liam insisted on checking out.  My cell phone charger is plugged in next to a large canister of wet wipes.  So what?  It looks like a random mess. And my car always looks like this.

 And this is where it gets really interesting but probably only to me...

On this particular afternoon, I had snagged a rare parking space behind a drugstore (national chain, moving offshore to avoid taxes, let's not get bogged down in the details).  This wasn't just any parking lot--I distinctly remember walking through this exact lot and the store's back door (strange in and of itself--how many stores have a front and back door?) when I was ten years old.  That summer I was on a mission to find the perfect lip gloss and this was the only store within walking distance.  I seem to recall purchasing something sticky, shiny and artificially strawberry.  More than that, I remember how alone I was.  More than alone.  I was invisible.  I doubt anyone saw me enter the store, pick out the gloss and walk the two blocks to an empty second floor apartment.  New lip gloss was the highlight of my day.  Probably my week.

You see, from the age of nine, I practically raised myself and though I may not have been literally invisible, I went mostly unseen for the next ten years.  (Seriously.  I didn't go to my prom or high school graduation.  No one said a thing to me about either before or after the big days.  That's just how it went.)

Fast forward many decades and I find myself in the same parking lot, by the same back door but now I drive a comfortable car and it is littered with evidence of my family.  My family.  The one I created out of nothing.  (Okay, not out of nothing--I mean, you do follow this blog, right?)  Picture books, Disney cds, booster seats and a sticky, icky trash bag hanging from the armrests.  All things I dreamed of but never imagined could be a part of my life when I was completely invisible, scurrying home to put on my lip gloss and watch reruns of Gilligan's Island while eating ham from a plastic envelope (sorry, Buddig, but that stuff isn't even real meat is it?)

I'll say it again--those two people with the same name and social security number aren't decades apart, they are light years removed from each other. So, yes, the photo is worth one thousand words and that moment--the one when I realized all this-- is priceless.


  1. You are amazing and have achieved so much. I wish I could hug you right now. xoxo

  2. Wow! Very insightful post.Sounds like you've come a long way.

  3. Everything that happened in your life led you to that moment last Saturday afternoon - a profound moment not lost on you at all. Your boys are so incredibly lucky to have you as their mom.

  4. Love this post!!