I was married for 30 years to Bob. We have been divorced for 25 years. We have three sons and four grandchildren to continue the journey of our genes. I have grieved our parting with sublime rage - at myself and at him and the whole tornado of events which ripped us up by the roots and dropped us into separate paths.
Recently, I found this lanyard, although we called them boondoggles, which I will so do here. It was tucked away in my safe and is over 60 years old. Bob made it and gave it to me when I was 12 and he was 13. I am not certain, but will remember it as a 12th year birthday gift of love.
As I held it in my hand, I drifted off into a world of live memory dreaming, remembering how we met and of that summer of getting to know each other.
Flagg Street playground was a community node with many activities for kids. I would walk or ride my bike down the hill almost every day and hang out, involved in whatever was happening on a given day. Once a week, we would get on a school bus and go swimming at Summit Park. In the winter, there was ice skating.
Pony League would practice on summer afternoons. I would pass by them on my way home. One day, I heard a whistle - the whistle that guys do to attract girls. I looked but none of the guys owned up. In fact, they all started whistling. After a couple days of this, Bob finally acknowledged that it was he who wanted to get my attention. I don't recall the exact details of this, however.
My memory skipped to the afternoon he walked me home from the playground. This was the beginning of our summer love. I remembered clips of that summer and the years that followed.
I remember how his brown eyes with those long eye lashes lit up under that baseball cap when he saw me. I remembered that they lit up the last time I saw him. We ran into each other in the post office recently, and he introduced me to his wife.
My conscious awareness returned me back to this gift from him which I was holding in my hand. Many events of our lives together and since our parting seemed to wash through my whole existence, leaving me empty of all that hidden anger.
I stared into the memory of those love lit eyes, grateful for the life we had, grateful for the person I am today.
Why? Well, this is the way life is. We have changed, changed by all that happens while we live and breathe. All the past holds the pain and suffering as well as the joy and happiness, balancing each other in a delicate dance.
Finding and holding this boondoggle in my hand was to have been given this gift of love all over again. Love certainly is a gift that lasts forever.
Surely, we all have a boondoggle or two to hold. Which is yours?