So what does it mean when things are no longer the same? When your visions of what's supposed to be are trapped, only to be resurrected with the periodic glimpse of a picture. What do you do when you're 13 years old and your reality is left to deal with the separation of your “everything?”
As she handed it to me the smile on her face beamed. "Dad," she exclaimed, "Here is a picture of me and my aunt in New York City!" Coupled with this came stories of their visits to famous landmarks and shows in the Big Apple. Her excitement couldn’t be contained and at first glance, her face said it all. But at second glance however, I had been ignorantly mistaken. Noticing the perforated edges of her paper memory, I felt the creases and cuts, the bends and its curves. Oddly out of place, they presented a story of their own. The story of what a 13 year old did when things were no longer the same.
Having eyed these inconspicuous oddities, it was clear that this picture was not like any other. It was then that I gleaned a bit of insight into not only what her paper memory meant to her but…what she thought it meant to me. Imagine the sinking in my heart when I noticed that she had saw fit to conveniently cut her Mom out of the picture.
Now while this wasn't done out of any anger or spite, discontent or malice, her response to why she would do such a thing made its own lasting impression on me. "I knew you wouldn't want her in it Dad," she said.
In that one moment I felt every cut, bend and sharp edge of her reality. I felt her hurt and her attempt at healing. See, what she wanted to do was protect me. Realizing the pain I felt but…just as I, ignorantly mistaken. "Beautiful," I said. "This is not something I want. This is not something I find acceptable and most of all, this is something that I never want to see you do again."
In the end, I had to explain that while our memories no longer represent our reality, our new realities bring forth new and unexpected hope. That this new hope can only be obtained when we accept our current circumstances for what they are. That this same hope cannot be obtained when we falsely imagine that parts of our reality cease to exist.
As we sat, I imagined her trapped between two loves - both of whom she wished to protect…for this is what she did when things were no longer the same. So what will we do? I think it fitting that we would, together, resurrect that picture and continue constructing a totally brand new “everything!”