There are these crackers I dreamed of my mother making this year for Christmas. They were an old recipe of my grandmothers, & when ALS took the life of my gram while I completed my third grade year in a classroom that overlooked her house, it also took the life of her crackers. So when my mom made them this year, I should not have been so surprised when I did not even enjoy them. Because the thing is, I remember not being a fan of them when I was a child. I had never liked the crackers. Only the nostalgia they carried.
& every year for Christmas, my mom makes a recipe known as frog eyes, which consists of pickles covered in cream cheese, wrapped in corned beef.
Every year I open the refrigerator to find the container, filling me with a sudden joy bug in which I must rip the lid off the bowl to indulge in a frog eye.
Every year after I give in to my craving, I remember why I had promised myself the year prior that I would never put myself through another frog eye.
You can’t tell me you’ve never been caught in the familiar predicament.
When the food was a let down & the place wasn’t as your memory had left it.
The thing is, love, it has nothing to do with the frog eyes & it has nothing to do with the crackers. It has nothing to do with that parking lot & it has nothing to do with that lake.
It never has.
It has to do with the memories. Feelings. Nostalgia. It had to do with that night when he parked the car in that barren lot under the summer’s night sky. When the music was background noise & his voice walked yours into deep conversations, when neither of you wanted the night to end. It was about her being caught in the same depth of complicated, restless emotions as you, & it was about getting up & spontaneously running away for a day, pretending we could leave everything behind & be something else. It has to do with the memories of our loved ones, tied to old pictures, handwritten recipes, & a handful crackers.
Nostalgia, love. It weighs against our spines, leaving our shoulders hunched, our backs curving foreword in mountain hiking position. It allures us to backwards pedaling, in which we just want that feeling to be duplicated, leaving our feet knocking the pedals backward, but our bikes staying in place. It stuns us into stillness. It paralyzes us into distraction. This hefty thing, nailed to arching doorways, leaving coffee shops filled with ghosts of friendships & sidewalks covered in screaming fights.
So I know you love fresh starts & I know you have spent your night throwing confetti & taking deep breaths. I know you kissed him to kick this off & I know how hopeful you are for a new day. & the thing is everyday you can begin anew. You never have to be who your were yesterday. But all your boxes of yesterdays fights & your unpaid bills can’t be slipped into that trash & completely disregarded. You still have to complete somethings to make this new beginning a new page, so don’t be tempted to leave unfinished business & relationships un-mended.
Cling to the sweetest days when you made lemonade. Write them down beside the date as keepsakes to bring revival to your broken heart. Breed thankfulness through out the lovely days. & overcome all ties with the heart breaks & struggles. Rest on those days when you felt the sunlight on your shoulders & the breeze on your back. Be filled by those ending places that bloomed within you, giving you more to offer.