Tonight I did some grandchild babysitting. At one, she is full of personality, so strong that you wonder how life will ever change it.
Next week I attend our convocation ceremony. One of my jobs will be to line up the grads so they can march across the stage in the right order to receive their degrees. By the time they graduate I know them quite well. At formal events like this I think to myself of something I said to my step-daughter when she was getting married - which was: live your life so you never look back and wonder where that girl went to.
This has been on my mind after a conversation with someone I have known for years, who has had some difficult things happen to her. What struck me after we talked, is that along the way she seems to have lost a lot of her interests, her humour, and, well, all the personality that I remember in her and saw today in our baby.
It has taken me some time to figure this out but I have decided that the best thing you can do if circumstances, or someone, has not treated you right is to do all you can to still be the person you were before all that happened. Sometimes it is important not to let life reshape you too much. Sometimes it's just time to get your own shape back.
This has also reminded me of something I haven't thought about in years but should have filed away at the time as a not-a-good-sign.
One time the first man I married went through my closet when I was at work and filled a garbage bag of all the clothes I had he didn't like. Of course these were mostly things I had made, and not things I had bought, and in fact were the most personal of my clothes, the ones I was most attached too.
Now no one would do that to me these days, not even think about it, you better believe that, but I was too young then and he was one of those black-and-grey-urban-minimalist guys, and well I was me. That entailed a lot of colour in my clothes and things I thought were interesting, and even patterns. Can you imagine? Even patterns. Some pretty loud ones I seem to remember - I always thought they looked happy.
The point is that over the years many influences have affected the way I dress, like the expectations of life and jobs can affect how you see yourself. Until you get to the point my old friend was at - where she told me she wasn't sure if she remembered what she was interested in anymore.
Now, everything I think about eventually makes me think about clothes. I have always been like that.
So this has led me to think that maybe sometimes it is a good thing to follow that string back. To where you used to be, to see if you have disconnected from things you enjoyed or even were just part of who you are. Like some folks get into genealogy or eat that old weird mac and cheese their mom made them when they are stressed, even if they are an arugula person now. Or like when you go back, you want to drive by the old house.
This has me thinking, as the weather gets colder, that I sure used to like flannelette pajamas. I used to love putting them on when they came out of the dryer in the winter especially, but I haven't really worn them since I was a kid. I think I stopped wearing them right around the time I started wearing black.
Now even when I was 15 and starting to get tall I do remember that after a few washes they turned into capris on me. So I am going to have to sew myself some. In fact I think I will be moving this idea to the top of the list.
It seems to me the one thing you shouldn't do in this life is forget what your pleasures are.