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Abandoned, for a reason?

03 Jan

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I’m not sure this is how a writer should look, but I’m in the jammies and a robe, propped up with the pillows and my infamous wool socks… Oh, and please, let’s not forget the bifocals – at least the glasses fit the part!  Well, this is the way it is tonight because I just finished a movie that left me feeling a little desperate.  Desperate to dump on a page an unsettling piece of my childhood – all over again.  It’s better this time, though, as I see the words forming and the ideas taking shape…

All the way through this movie I felt the grumbling and churning of words and emotions that were begging to be spilled out on paper.  A confession of sorts, a purging of the angst over the childhood that didn’t go right.  It came to one word.

Abandoned.

Like a vapor, I was gone.  I was on the leading edge of being a teenager – just 13 – and my tender, young life was full of boys, dances, braces, and blue jeans.  That’s when it hit – the big change of address.  A move like none I’d ever heard of before that day – except in fiction.  A move out West.  This tiny, scrappy girl from a small town in Pennsylvania was moving to a place I had only heard of in books.  I really don’t know if I even knew where Arizona was, to be honest!  Somebody, give me a map!

Cowboy hats and pearl-buttoned shirts.  Houses made from stucco with clay-tile roofs.  Cactus and various poisonous wildlife.  I was excited and thought that it was really cool!  I know I was hoping that all my friends would be envious.  And what teenage girl doesn’t want to be envied?  Well, noticed at least?  Okay … maybe talked about?

Slam.  It was like someone closed a giant safe door on my childhood and home town and locked it away forever.  A place for me to remember, but never to really touch again.  Some wise person said “You can never go home again” and yes, it’s true.  Sometimes, unbearably true.

Stares came from all the kids at my new school because I was the new kid and you {Always. Stand. Out.}  So much for being envied…because if I was being talked about back home, how was I supposed to know?

You can make a career out of reinventing yourself at this new place to impress the “natives.”  It must be a defense mechanism.  But, eventually, the right people pick you out and gently allow you to enter their world.  For me, it was Carol, Muffy, Michelle and a few others with long-forgotten names.  Their faces will be forever etched in my mind though…

restored cross jr high

Somewhere in our adulthood, we unearth it – our childhood. Everyone knows about this, right?  Not everyone sees their past as unfortunate…Some only remember glorious times and great parents.  Others can be overcome with regret and others even terror.  I remember feeling abandoned, alone, set apart, set adrift and somewhat forced to find my own way through the adolescent mess PLUS moving clear across the country.  I no longer had my 4 siblings, my long list of childhood friends, my Grandmothers, or my neighborhood full of sidewalks that took you everywhere you needed to go.  How else can I describe it other than {Night. And. Day}

Four years later, we made yet another move right after my high school graduation.  Another effortless transition?  No, but I won’t digress into some diatribe that makes you feel sorry for the kid who gets moved without any real support system.  Instead, here’s the redemptive part…

I soon married, really soon, like that Fall.  He was my high school sweetheart and newly inducted into the US Army.  In case you don’t know anyone in the military, let me just tell you… you move a lot.  Actually, his first duty station was in Korea and so we spent that first year apart except for 2 weeks of leave time.

Over the next 20 years we moved a few times, had 3 kids, bought a couple of houses…and you know what?  We did it well.  We were highly capable and knew how to prepare the boxes, the kids, and the mountains of paperwork.  No one could have adequately prepared me for this except for … Yes, my childhood.

God’s plan isn’t always clear.  It’s an adventure.  It’s a worthwhile (and continuous) lesson in patience.  Take a shy kid, from a small town, put her in a city, pour all sorts of adjustments onto her and then see what happens.  I’m not saying I didn’t spend a {TON} of energy on regret and anger over it all, but in the end, I can say with all certainty that every bit of it had {HUGE} value.  It’s still my life lesson… to learn my lessons from my life.  Or, if I’m feeling really confused, I pick out a few woeful souls from the scriptures and I can see redemption all over again.

I felt abandoned, for a reason.  And God never meant to leave me there.  Even today He means for someone to hear and understand those things about their childhood and how to have peace with it all.

I love my friends.  I have more than I can count and they live in a million different places.  And most days I’m connected to them, because they never forgot me.  It amazes me still, after 33 years, I can meet someone I haven’t seen since age 13 and with an almost audible WOOSH, that safe door opens and we all get a little thrill from looking back – together – at those 3 decades and we smile.  It’s a little slice of {HOME}.

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Life, in general

 

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