As mom and dad considered retirement and a new life, they cleaned out the house where I grew up. My marriage home soon filled with videos of “Little House in the Prairie” and toys from childhood.
On my last birthday, they brought over a huge cardboard box. I raised my eyebrows and inquired, “More junk?”
Mom ignored my quip. “No dear, it's the photo albums from your youth. I saved a few essential pictures but it's time to consolidate. We can't move all this stuff at our ages.”
A wave of excitement and dread passed over me. I thanked my mother and tucked them away in a corner. The reverie continued past midnight, since dad's birthday is the next day.
When they left, I squirreled the box down to the basement. I didn't want the kids to see some of the old photos. I wasn't even sure I wanted my husband to look at them.
A few months later, we planned a move of our own. Health and finances had taken their toll. Another lifestyle change was eminent after years of stability.
Harried and hassled, I left the basement door ajar with the photo box half opened. My observant daughter found the photo albums before I could find her.
I flew down the cement stairs, demanding, “What are you doing?” My desire was to grab the box and escape with it.
She held up a photo of a smiling blonde girl with humongous hair. Next to her was a scruffy guy wearing an angry expression and a sweatshirt proclaiming, “I'm Irish. Buy me a beer.”
“Who's that?” she said in an accusatory tone.
“I haven't even gone through these myself,” I replied abruptly. “Honestly, you shouldn't use a moment like this to do something you know you aren't supposed to.”
Her wise young eyes narrowed. “It's him, isn't it?” She looked into my soul, waiting for an answer.
I sighed and sank down onto the cement stairs, the coldness edging into my spine. “Yes, sweetie, it is.”
Knowingly, she retorted, “You didn't have to tell me because I already found your wedding pictures. Mom, you were beautiful!”
“Oh, and I'm not now?!” I joked.
“Stop kidding around, you know what I mean. He looks like a jerk and he needs a shave. You were always so elegant.”
The power of her words brought me to my feet. “I love you sweetie!” I held her tightly in my arms. A tear fell into her silky hair as the warmth of her skin penetrated my body.
“Don't worry, Mommy, your ugly ex-husband can't hurt you anymore. Daddy is here now.” She wiped my cheek and kissed it. “He couldn't get past any of us!”
© Stacey Mamasaid 2012 All Rights Reserved