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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reprise!



Sitting here at dawn, remembering sixtyfive plus years lived on two continents, thousands of people met along the way, a thousand more sitting in front of me in those classrooms that were always too hot or too cold, sitting here feels as though I've been watching a movie about to end.

Many times, I didn't feel in control at all. Many times, I felt like the victim of circumstances, eager to leave Dodge, (for non-Americans, this expression means to get out of town fast!) eager for the children to grow up, the husband to finish his P.H.D., my career to stop sputtering.

Decisions I almost made haunt me to this day. No, I could have, I should have done this or that.  Our lives have been intricate dances on high beams. The only important thing we had to remember was not to fall.  I can list many times when I almost fell. 

Yet, looking back, those tough situations are blurred in the context of the present.  We want to remember the good times, reprise the most delicious experiences in the movie version of our lives. 

So, there I am, a bright, beautiful thing, frozen in the picture my husband still carries in his wallet. I don't even remember that picture being taken.  What I remember was the hair cut, the short boy cut I donned ever since my girl was born, a good 35 years ago. The occasion was really a crisis point in our marriage. I had wanted to stay home and be just a mommy. Two months into the routine, I was bored and resentful. So,  I had decided to enroll in a graduate program in comparative literature. Since my husband was busy with his graduate work, I felt left out, crossed by negligence, discarded like the maternity dresses after the baby was born.  I wanted to feel in control again, alive with ideas. Most of all I wanted adult relationships.



The picture in the wallet means different things: for him, a beautiful young thing who followed him across the country; for me, something else.

41 comments:

Helen said...

Dear Rosaria,
Even before I enlarged the photo, I knew I would encounter the lovely face of an intelligent and driven woman. Your words today (in a good way) force me to think back over my sixty-eight years .... to reflect on the almost 'fall-downs' and the 'pick-myself-ups' ... There were many.
It is beautiful in Bend today!

Maggie May said...

Life over so many years has to be full of ups and downs........ questioning motives and decisions.
I bet you are glad you embarked on such a journey. The photo shows you were (and probably still are) a very lovely lady!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

becky at abbeystyle said...

Uffda! (that's Norwegian for a heavy OH MY!)
It's always hard to look back over what might have beens...all we can say is that we did the best we could with what we had. It's good that you can savor the good experiences and let the disappointments drift away...Bravo!

potsoc said...

When I entered this world 79 years ago as as a sickly waif not to live more than 9 years, if lucky, I had nowhere to go but up and higher. I have the feeling that, nothwithstanding some dips now and then, that is just what I have done...and, to a certain extent, still am doing.
I would not bactrack for anything, that would mean the death of me. My motto: full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes. I know, I did not invent it, but it does describe my feelings to a dot.

Terra said...

Nice to hear a bit about your journey. I mostly think about today and tomorrow. I've had lots of adventures and like to think about them upon occasion. I rode a horse in Jordan, started a winery, wrote a book, have a great marriage and two grown children. Praise be to God.

Dimple said...

We each have what we choose to remember, and also what we choose to forget. They are both part of us. I look in the mirror and see ME. The same me I have always been, only with gray hair and more weight. Yet, at the same time, I am not the same me I have always been, because each experience and decision has changed me.

Thank you for a thought-provoking post.

decomondo said...

About 10-12 years ago a friend asked if I had any regrets. I told him no, I had not, but maybe my response was due to lack of life experience rather than to fortune to have always achieved all my goals. I was simply too young to have regrets.
Perhaps today I would give a different answer. Perhaps, I say; I made my mistakes, that’s for sure, but I also did my best to learn how not to repeat them and that my time does not pass in vain.
The rest is... destiny?
You are so beautiful in this picture that, whatever is the memory of that time, it can not cancel the trip in time of your smile. You smile to your personal strengths.

Everyday Goddess said...

Isn't it amazing how the people we love most see something in us that we don't?
I'm glad you followed your inner guidance and pursued your career too.

Brian Miller said...

intricate dances on high beams...that is life at times...and the need for adult relationships, yeah i understand that one...

Natalie said...

I'm with Brian.

What a perfect post in my eyes, Rosaria.I love the way your mind works.♥

Eva Gallant said...

You write so well..we all have made decisions that we have questioned. But there is no do-over for life (at least of which I am aware!). I love reading your posts, Rosaria.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

You always seem to manage to look ahead, though, and that keeps you young.

janis said...

It seems to me you have made many the right choices. So many of us feel Blessed to have a glimpse into your life. I know you inspire many of us, encourage many of us, and challange us to think, to really think.
My Mother once told me when I was about 17 years old, that she still is the person she was at 17. She still thinks the same, feels the same, but her reactions and processes are not the same. I was shocked. I thought at some point, growing up, I would suddenly get it. Im an adult now, I should know what to do. Well, I am 47 now, and I still think & feel like I did at 17. I get it. Life is a constant challenage. And for that I am grateful.

saz said...

very poignant and the words in the first paragraph could be mine own...

wow...got me in the chest...

saz x

Diana said...

Feeling the impact of this right now... of choices made and not, and which was the better path. Not sure how to digest it all in my own life sometimes.

NitWit1 said...

I am sure a similar picture view by my husband me would evoke similar if different memories. The journey, not over 40 years, has had a lot of paths where the pebbles hurt my feet; I'm sure he would say that at times the pebbles may have embedded in his shoes, too.

And it does not get easier, except the word acceptance becomes the solution.

Lyn said...

Rosaria, I enjoyed this post so much. What a clever take on the picture. I could related totally to your feelings after having your baby -- being left out and resentful. I love that you let it fuel your ambition and advance your education. I love when you share glimpses of the younger version of yourself. Shows how much we humans/women/mothers have in common.

Marguerite said...

Life is full of ups and downs, but I try to follow my son's advice, "Look forward, not back" because we cannot change the past, but only live in the present, with an eye toward the future. Lovely photo and post!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I love reading your perspective of past events. Makes me want to dig out an old photo....

Cloudia said...

Thanks for sharing your well-reasoned and well-written wisdom...




Aloha from Spring Time in Waikiki!


Comfort Spiral

Jo said...

Rosaria -- that's a pretty name. Now I know your name.

And yes, I sometimes get that feeling of watching a movie that is about to end. But I would rather think of each stage as a new beginning.

I have a feeling you have made the very most of your life, and you have a lot more to do yet.

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, 'A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!'” Robert Browning

Nancy said...

You have such a honest way of looking back over your life. It leaves me wondering about my own story whenever I read yours. You always leave me wanting more of the story.

Snowbrush said...

Maybe he doesn't want to let go of your youth. Age changes people, and I often grieve for the ways Peggy has changed. Our love is solid, but I never really knew how different we would become.

Jingle said...

http://itistimetothinkformyself.blogspot.com/2010/05/jingles-may-follower-award-week-3.html

Happy Monday!
Friendship tags 4 u.
I enjoyed your company!

reflective post!

Wander to the Wayside said...

I don't know what I like best - this post, or the comments. Much food for thought. Having just turned 62 this weekend, I've spent several days looking back at the shoulda/coulda/wouldas of those years. Many many decisions I regret, many roads not taken that I would like the opportunity to go down, but, as Eva said, there are no do-overs. I must find contentment in what I have achieved and what treasures I have especially in the family I've been gifted with. At the end, that's what I will be thinking of.

ellen abbott said...

It's easy to look back and question the decisions we made then. I try to remember that I was doing the best I could at the time. Reflection is good as long as you don't dwell on the past. Like Marguerite says, look forward, not back.

sheri... said...

wow, what an awesome view you've given me into the heart of such an extraordinary woman! do you suppose time would slow down if i grabbed onto you tightly, and dug my heels into the sand? i, too, find myself lost in my thoughts, wondering why it took so long to see, really see, what's been before me the whole time?
thank you for such an honest offering of your struggle as you continue to 'become'...

Phoenix said...

Photographs are very interesting this way: two memories are created, one for the person who holds the photo as a reminder or memento; the other of the subject who sees the truth of what was really going on at the time.

Fascinating post :)

Reya Mellicker said...

What a beautiful picture. Even more beautiful: your story.

What is "the" truth? The picture and stories that go along with it reflect very different realities.

No matter what you decided or didn't decide, you have lived so well, and continue to teach all of us as a result of it. You rock.

the walking man said...

You look back and remember the balance and the need. I look back and remember the falling and the lack of want.

Robyn said...

Rosaria I admire your ability to be clear and honest with yourself in your writings.

I think to look back is a gift, but only a true present when memory has no weight to be carried into the future.
It's never really the end as we can't accurately predict the future.

Thank you for all that you share and in my opinion the only real time is now and that will be gone again in a blink :)

xx robyn

Rinkly Report said...

Sometimes it's better to refuse to let regret take hold. (There are so many regrets!) But just to concentrate on how we've come this far with mostly good things happening! We can't 'turn back the clock' in one way, but we can almost do it with photos such as yours!

Mr. Stupid said...

Wonderful post. My Grandpa always repented for the life he had leaded. Even though he had everything, he had never seen happiness or joy.
Love the way you think.

Smiles:)

RNSANE said...

Ah, Rosaria, we've lived the same number of years...I ended up alone. Sometimes I really do wish I had found the right partner to end my life with, to snuggle with at night...but, I'm better this way than miserable the way I was twenty years ago ( gosh, have I been alone that long? ). Well, not really alone, my boys have been around and, for so many of the years past, I was constantly on call, racing in and out of the house at all hours of the day and night to care for rape victims, to see children who had been sexually abused. It would have taken a special man to tolerate that!

I just don't like the thought of not having someone there when I exit this earth. I guess it's no big deal but, for some reason, I've been thinking about it a lot lately.

fiftyodd said...

Great to find other sixtyplussers! Your blog is beautiful. I live in Cape Town, south Africa and am fairly new to Blogspot, having written a South AFrican blog for 3 years. How do you manage to follow so many blogs? I can find time to read about 3 or 4 a day.

Villa-loredana said...

Hello dear, the pic is marvelous and I enjoide as always, yes, it is the trough, the year is passing, we are just a moment on this world, so let be friends even beetwen us is a old lady Europe, the ocen and the lady AMerika. Well, I'm working only once month and will be retired, so time for me, my Hubby, and memories, and time to dividen in creation, looking the foto where we had been during the 38 of our marriage, and what we wanto to see in the future, what I wish to create and so on, so on.....
I'll be back. Have a nice time since I'm coming. Loredana

Nicky S (Absolute Vanilla) said...

What a beautiful, evocative and haunting post, Rosaria! Lovely, lovely writing, beautiful lady! x

shopgirl said...

Insightful and poetic.

Thanks for sharing such intimate thoughts.

:-))

CambridgeLady said...

Moving and poignant - thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories with us :o)

She Writes said...

I love seeing that photo of you! Beautiful, yes :)! So that is the young woman who you have been writing of. It's fun to seer you, Rosaria!

PS I have actually fallen--many times.

Relyn said...

I love how you can have two versions of the same picture and still enjoy life together. I guess that's really what marriage is all about, isn't it?