Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas/Birthday Memories Past

I was looking through some old photos this evening and happened upon a pictures of my husband and Monkey Boy back when he was teeny-tiny. Well, teeny-tiny for him (you remember that he was nearly 11 lbs at birth, right?). They were posed in front of a Christmas tree and my husband still wore his wedding ring (that lasted about 6 weeks after we got married...but that's a story for another day!). It got me thinking about what other memories of Christmas past might be lurking in this photo box. Remember, back in the days before digital cameras, when photos were nearly always posed and most often seemed to happen on special occasions? I came upon a few good ones my first time through, most with me and my older sister, my first friend, my lifelong confidant, my battle partner, my fellow witness to both the joys and atrocities of our childhood. We are adults now, both in our 30s, both married, both mothers (though she has 3 children to my 1!) - our friendship is different than it was when we were children, but our love, if anything, has only grown stronger.

She is 26 months older than me and her birthday is right before Christmas. It's today, actually - December 22nd. Since my birthday is on Valentine's Day, I grew up thinking that everyone had their birthday on or just before a holiday. How sad, I thought, not to have what seemed like the whole world celebrate with you. That's me on the left there, above, posing for a picture with our brand-new dolls after my sister's birthday party. I wasn't really into dolls, honestly, babies have always been more her department, but I wanted whatever she had so I could be just like her. Much to her chagrin, of course, especially as we grew older.

These are Christmas-time photos as well, believe it or not. When we first moved to the US, my father had a job in the coastal Oregon town of Lincoln City and our house was right on the beach. Here, my sister and I are taking our bears "sledding" in the "snow" in our backyard - we had just moved from Switzerland, I guess old habits are hard to break?

One of our parents somehow got us to pause long enough to pose for this second photo, although, apparently, my sister was really worried about her panda bear. This is probably about a year before my parents split up, definitely before I knew there was anything wrong. I thought it was normal for parents to yell in the kitchen after you were tucked into bed at night, what seemed like every night. My strongest memories of this age are the living room of this house, legs/knees of adults, shadows on the ceiling in my bedroom, and my parents yelling. I don't think my mom hit us then, I think she was still taking out her anger on our dad. It wasn't until after he left that we became her targets. Well, I say we, but my sister did everything she could to put the blame on herself for anything that went wrong. She did the best she could. She protected me. She kept me safe. She reminded me that we wouldn't be trapped in that house forever. She is my first and oldest friend, she is my only witness, my only battle companion.

I love you, Kadie <3

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