Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Present, No Going Back

A year ago, I took part in a thought-provoking challenge issued by scrapbooking and life enthusiast Stacy Julian. If you need a refresher on what my project was, click here. I want you to know that I did as she recommended. I kept my mini-album with me for a whole year, in my purse, or on display on top of my piano where I would see it 300 times a day. I thumbed through it now and then, enjoyed showing it off to people when they asked about it, and clutched it like a talisman the day we moved away.

The last part of this experiment was to make a scrapbook page about our experiences. So today, I completed the challenge by making this (sorry about the bad photo):

The journaling reads:

I knew when I undertook this challenge from Stacy Julian (to create a mini album of "life right now" and live with it for a year) in October 2008, that the little book would become an instant zeitgeist. I thought, rather smugly, that I would certainly ace this experiment given the drastic changes we had planned: [the Gutsy Dad]'s return from [the RLBT], the birth of our new baby, and an intercontinental move. And, to a degree, I was right on track. Life is absurdly different now.

But I had no idea, even if I thought I had, how hard the last of those three biggies would be for me. Auerbach was my Camelot. People don't believe me when I say that, because we had such crappy housing and we weathered so many hardships, including a 15-month [RLBT], while [living] there. But it was, indeed, our perfect little village. I learned--oh, how I learned!--what it means to be a good neighbor, and how powerful good friendships can be, and how strong women are when they must be, and how I don't need to be a perfect mother (just good enough!), and how houses turn into homes not because of their size or their furniture, but because of their inhabitants: the giggling children chasing each other around the "ring-around" from kitchen to living room, the good friends sharing coffee at a tiny kitchen table, and the husbands finally coming HOME, wherever that home may be.

Now, four months after the big move, I still ache in my chest and get lumps in my throat when I think about all the wonderful aspects of our life in Auerbach. I long for it. Yet I know, in my heart, that even if we moved back it would never be the same as it was. There's no going back.

So now what? Take a deep breath. Say your favorite two-word prayer ("thank-you"). Celebrate the goodness of what used to be the present. Feel lucky and blessed to have known and loved and lived in such an amazing place with such amazing people. Delight in the NEW present: being a family together again; enjoying my nice, big rental home; loving my beautiful and ever-changing children; loving my incredible, loyal, student-husband; and feeling grateful for the miracle of good health and happiness. Yes, life was good a year ago. But life is good now, too. SO good.


bcre8uv said...

Wow. What a fabulous, heartfelt page to have in your scrapbook.

I also like the owls on your blog. ;)


Mom on the Move! said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes as I remember my Ring of Power in Vilseck. I don't think we ever get back those special lives we carve out during RLBTs. It's bitter sweet.

Fizi said...

Beautifully and powerfully written. Auerbach was a wonderful place full of special and deep friendships, and yes, it won't ever be the same again as it is people that make a place so special, not the place itself and those people won't ever be together in one place again. But thank you for sharing your memories.

Miss you

Billie said...

Amazing post, Marg. I, too, have to remind myself to live in the present :-). While our situations were different, Germany was an amazing experience for me and yup, as much as I really, really want to go back I know it just wouldn't be the same because I had such an amazing group of people to experience it with. We are truly blessed!