Weekly Writing Challenge: A Few Of My Favorite Things. I chose to write about a black and white picture of my Aunt Dina and I. I had only seen part of this picture in my baby book, and I had always wanted to know just who had been on the other side. It was such a mystery to me and one that I never thought I would solve. Thankfully, my great Aunt just happened to have a copy of this picture. I will never let this picture escape me again, and so it sits on the top of my dresser among good company of a few other cherished photos. This picture, a part of my past, in ONE piece, is definitely one of my favorite things.
The picture was titled,”Heather at 3 Years old”. The email message, short and sweet: “Heather, I was scanning some old pictures and found this one. Enjoy! Love, Mom.” I clicked on the black and white picture, a part of my past but only half the picture remained, I wondered who was cut out of my childhood. She was notorious for cutting people out of her life. Our family photo album slowly diminishing..forgotten by her and her favorite pair of scissors.
The picture was titled, “Heather Isabel & Aunt Dina”. The letter, nothing but sentimental: “Heather, she loved and still loves you so much, you guys were attached at the hip! Love, Aunt Patsy.” I held this picture, my past, in my hand..I was HER ballerina girl. She let me play make-believe, held me in her arms, counted stars with me, and showed me how to tell time. She braided my hair, sewed matching dresses for me and my “Really Baby” named Lisa Marie, and watched and sang along to Annie with me. She was my stability.. taken away from me.
It’s my wedding day today and I know she’s not coming. This is the picture, I wanted to cry because I missed her only for that moment. I wished she could see her daughter in this dress, getting married. The photographer sensed my sadness and forced smile, “That veil, it must have been expensive..”, he says to me. I remember my grandmother saying to me, “I want to pay for your wedding dress and veil, it would mean so much to me!” Today, she will stand before us and talk about Family. She will remind me that family is aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts, great uncles. She will light the same candle that’s used to light up our Unity Candle. She sat quietly in the very last row of her own daughter’s wedding. She was barely seen or heard, but those were my mother’s wishes. “Yes”, I tell him, “My grandmother got it for me!” I look out the window, knowing she will not be there, those who love me are waiting to share this special day with me. I smile, knowing this moment of sadness is gone.
She was there when I stepped off the plane, waiting for me at the gate, no longer a little girl but a young woman, trying (once again) to find her way. She showed me how to stand up for myself, set some needed boundaries, and that I’m more than just a pawn in someone elses game. I’m a person who deserves to love and be loved. She was there when I chose my wedding dress, when I walked down the aisle, when I said “I Do”, and when I moved into my very first home. She was there when I needed someone to tell me, “It’s okay, in her heart, she does love you..she just has an odd way of showing it.” 30 years have passed since the snapshot reunion of a little girl and her long lost aunt. Parts of my childhood might have been torn into mysterious pieces, but that does not mean those I’ve loved were ever truly cut out of my life.
After the wedding ceremony, Her daughter tells me, “You were so pretty today Heather, you made my mom cry.” This time, they are not tears of sadness, but tears of joy and love… A love that is never lost or forgotten, regardless of the missing years in between.