That old backpack
I visited my son, Josh, in Las Vegas in early January, and I gave him Jake’s clothes. In the parking lot of StorageOne, we sorted through black trash bags filled with jeans, socks, t-shirts, boxers, boots, gloves, and Jake’s National Guard uniforms. We were there to pick up Josh’s bike to take it in for repair, and to store whatever didn’t fit from the bags of Jake’s belongings.
It’s a cold undertaking, sorting through a missing person’s clothing. It seems more respectful to hold on to it indefinitely for when he comes back.
But I am more pragmatic than sentimental, and I know Jake himself would give his brother his clothes. My pragmatism did not extend to his National Guard uniforms, nor to his shredder, which baffles me. The uniforms: of course. But I don’t need a shredder. That thing is in my trunk with one pair of Jake’s uniform boots and a sweatshirt with the NewGold logo on it.
Josh rejected all the underclothes with a slight shudder, so those went to Goodwill, along with some shirts that Josh said he would never, ever wear. (Plaid. So much plaid.) Cold, wrenching hilarity. This is momhood.
I seem to move more heavily these days, like gravity is stronger now, tugging at my feet with each step. Weight gain, yeah, but more; I feel so slow, and the days are dimmer.
Last night in a class I’m taking I stated that I was cynical about positive change happening in multicultural education.
I would never before have labeled myself as a cynic, but I do now, I see. I’ve lost a part of myself in this ordeal.
I’m grief-stricken yet relieved because now I understand why I’m more comfortable by myself lately. I feel like life right now is a poorly-made quilt with mismatched corners. There’s no fixing it apart from ripping out every single stitch and redoing it. How does one unstitch life?
In the midst of despair, bits of light. People are loving and concerned and they help where they can. We are not forgotten.
It doesn’t get easier as time passes. I thought it would.
It’s just packed up now, in a backpack I never put down.
This rendition of “Over the Rainbow” captures the tone of my days.