Handprints

Tonight I was looking for my travel sized makeup mirror. I couldn’t remember if I kept it or not when we moved. I vaguely remember pondering on whether to bring it…I recall holding the round double sided magnifying mirror encased in an old purple and gold crown royal felt bag, lol. I decided, nah, it may break and I can always get another later.

But instead I found my high school senior picture folio. My past life and memories are nestled in bags in my closet. I have tons of photos in those silvery freezer bags, you know the big ones with the plastic handles. It made it easy to transport photos and papers during our 4 moves over the past 4 years. I have video of the kids on Hi8 that I want to digitize. I want to scan all the old photos too. And I have external hard drives and cd’s, omg. Can’t keep up with all of the technological changes. I even have old photo slides and cassettes.

I had an old cassette of my mother’s family singing together. It would give me goosebumps when I listened to it, so beautiful. I gave it to my cousin so she could transfer it to a digital format, that reminds me I need to ask if that ever happened and if I can get a copy, lol! That was years ago 🙂

I want to be able to look at all of it with the kids one day and be able to share digital copies with them.

So I have saved the sentimental things that I could, like the children’s artwork, handprints, awards, mementos, etc. One day I’ll get around to catching up with the modern day. It is nice to have physical objects to hold and see though. The true colors, weight and texture, even smells of treasured keepsakes. They trigger more memories than just a photo. I can see why people hang onto so many items. It’s a way to remember good times in a more tangible, tactile, somatic manner.

For years there was a toddler sized handprint on my dresser mirror from my daughter. A delicate gossamer etching of a sticky patty cake hand. I left it there, I didn’t want to say goodbye. It touched me in such a tender, bittersweet way every time I saw it. It would catch me and send me into a revery. How we can’t hold onto anything in this world, except what we hold in our hearts, the loving memories and the love we share now. That’s all that really matters.

Oh that precious handprint ghost in the mirror, our wee little ones, so sweet, such pure, brilliant love with the kids. What a gift.

Anyway, I found my school folio, I was only 16. It’s hard to believe I was once that young girl in the photos. What was she dreaming of then?

The way they put you in different poses, clothes and settings. Cute. Some pics I’m serious, others are smiles. Lace shoulder drape, cap and gown, fancy dress. In one photo I’m sitting in a big rattan chair. They put the proofs into a bound folding thing to display. I have photos of the kids on my desk/computer nook. There was a blank space, so I put my folio there next to them.

It’s helping me to see myself as I see them. What do I want for that 16 year old self. She’s the same as those other beautiful children I see. That’s still me. What else does that beautiful young woman want to experience in this autumn of her life?

What kind of handprint does she want to leave in this world? There’s still room to dream, she’s still in there, that young woman with the world at her feet. Just like her miracle children beside her.

Now she knows that she doesn’t have to settle anymore. That she gets to decide and has full agency over what she agrees to in her life. She knows now she’s just as precious and worthy as anyone else. She’s just like her children. Who doesn’t want the world for their children?

What does she want now?

Michelle Miyagi
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