"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Another hobby of mine is writing.  When a topic pops into my head, I write.  Some of those musings have been published, others just stored.  A friend suggested I post a few on my Blog, and so I will.  

This article was published in our town's weekly paper in May of 2008, the year our daughter graduated from high school.  She is in the photo, second from the right, gold lame' dress.  The girls surrounding her are just a few of the girls I refer to in this article.  


The van is done.  It was just a car, but had become so much more over the years, a repository of memories, a vehicle of freedom. It seems somehow fitting that its demise would come this year, the year our daughter Anna and the gang of girls that have surrounded us for 18 years, prepare to graduate from high school.  The van was just no fun anymore without all the seats filled with laughing, smiling, boys and girls anyway, so it was time for a change.

This was a particularly difficult change to handle, the letting go of the years stored away in the van’s seams.  When the day came to stop by the auto body shop to clear the years of debris out of the van, my sadness was so deep it took all I had to hold back the tears.  The sadness that enveloped me would seem ridiculous to some.  But, losing the van is just another piece of learning to let go of my precious daughter and the Girls of the Class of 2008. 

So many of those girls spent hours in that van, and while cleaning it out, the laughter of them as toddlers, elementary school children, middle school children and then young adults rang in my ears. I could hear the hilarious reaction to the 2nd grade girl in the back seat amusing one and all with her amazing armpit farts. I heard the constant chatter of middle school girls heading off for a girls-only camping trip.  Or, the girls singing their way along to yet another adventure, whether it was far away or just around town to a practice of some type.  It’s as if Dr. Seuss had blessed the van for us, saying “Oh, the places you will go!”  And, go we did.

Friday afternoons in the winter with the van full of girls and gear, we would head up to Loon Mountain, getting there ahead of my husband and the boys and, therefore, grabbing the best beds.  How I miss those drives to Lincoln and the crazy mornings feeding the gang and packing the lunches to fuel a day of skiing.  I would give everything I own to have one of those mornings back again.  Just to feel it, smell it, wallow in the comfort and joy of a weekend in the mountains with that amazing group of girls and guys.  In the summer, we’d pack that van and head to campsites, rivers, water parks, amusement parks, beaches and lakes. Those girls would sing all the way there and then sleep all the way back.  

The boys who were a part of the adventures in the van graduated two years ago.  Now, it is the girls’ turn.  It has been a joy to know many of these girls since they were babies.  Countless others I have known for a shorter period of time, and there are many who came and went, our lives intersecting for short periods of time.  Regardless of the length of time they were part of Anna’s and, therefore, my life, they each brought to our household more happiness and excitement than I ever imagined possible.  The smiles and laughter they delivered to our doorstep are gifts for which I am deeply grateful.

Some friends have remarked upon the fact that the dog I rescued this spring appears to be an attempt to replace the excitement and energy we will be losing when Anna and that gaggle of girls head off to college.  Some have even commented that Cassy, our rescued mutt, is really like an Anna in a canine form.  Cassy is adorable and smart, lively and always ready for the next adventure, a loving and loyal friend.  Any resemblance to Anna is purely coincidental.  And, really, Cassy doesn’t smell nearly as good as Anna does.  Next fall I will miss that wonderful morning scent of a teenage girl getting ready for school, the delicious aromas of shampoo, body spray, and perfume that wafts to the kitchen, telling me that Anna is up and getting ready to face the day. 

I’ve said farewell to the van, and soon will bid farewell to Anna and the Girls in the Class of 2008.  The memories I have of our times together over the years, some as a participant in their fun and others as an observer, will provide me a lifetime of smiles.  Look out world, here they come, and they are funny, bright, engaging, and delightful.  They will go far, and if you get in their way, they will simply blast by you and continue on, smiling all the way.  

Best wishes, be careful, be smart…. I know you’ll have fun. 

1 comment:

Some day, I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one, I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done. I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.