It's List-It Tuesday, so here I am again with my list. This week's suggested topic was "things that make you nostalgic," which stumped me. So, like the good English major I used to be, I turned to the dictionary. The second definition, the one I incorporated into my list, is, I think, the one we all most associate with the word: "a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition." No wonder I was having trouble! My husband has described me as the least sentimental person he knows. (I will get back to that in a moment...)
The first definition of the word also shed some light for me. "The state of being homesick: HOMESICKNESS." When I was ten, I lived away from home for about six months or so. It was not a good situation. (Hello, understatement, and backstory! It's not coming, sorry.) At the beginning, I was excessively and sentimentally homesick; I can't even think about how excessively and sentimentally. I got over it, because it wasn't changing anything. As hard as I've thought about it, I can't remember ever being homesick in that way again, not at college, not traveling by myself, not at all that I can think of. Safe to say I detached.
The excessively sentimental side of me went underground, too. The items from my childhood that I've thrown out or let slip through my fingers--you'd be appalled. (When I got engaged I threw out an entire box of letters from old boyfriends. I figured it was wrong to keep them, and I've never missed them, although I didn't realize at the time that letter writing would basically become extinct, and quite soon. At the very least, they'd make excellent collage fodder now.) I know people who are sentimental about houses...no. The house to which my firstborn came home from the hospital, where he took his first steps, was also filthy with lead paint, super duper tiny, and in a neighborhood where lawns were regularly sprayed with nasty chemicals. I was extremely happy to leave it. And while I do own special objects, I'm hard pressed to think of any loss of thing that would devastate me.
But I am sentimental about my children's childhoods...perhaps even excessively so. I've tucked away all manner of odd flotsam and jetsam, and they can decide, when they're older, if they want to keep any of it. I have tried, to the best of my ability, to take note of as many moments as I could, not just the highlight-reel moments but the everyday ones as well. While I danced with my first baby in the sling throughout the night in the dark living room of that old, small house, because he couldn't sleep otherwise for colic, I looked down at that sweet baby face and thought, I will remember this night, this song playing softly, this lullaby I sing to you, this beautiful, ordinary, just-us moment. Over and over and over I have repeated the attempt to cement a moment fast in my mind and my heart.
And thus, this week's list is more of a heart-wish than a list. I cannot be accused of living in the past, or even wanting to. But if I could jar up just one day from each year of each of my children's lives--if time travel existed, I'd visit them all again, even just briefly.
And see? I am sentimental, because just writing this post has made me tear up just a bit. And you? What makes you nostalgic?