Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Building Memories

The little girl sits on a dusty wooden workbench. There is no breeze in the barn, but even despite the scorching Texas summer weather, she doesn't mind. She brushes away a mosquito and kicks her knobby-kneed legs in the air beneath the bench in rhythm.

"Daddy, why'd you decide to build this boat?" Her father, lightly coated with sawdust from the circular saw he used earlier and dripping sweat, stops measuring and looks up. He is standing in the middle of a small, nearly-finished hull of what will someday be a two-or-three-man sailboat. Its lines are unfinished but artfully crafted. He sits on the edge and pats the space next to him - the blonde child climbs up beside him.

He tells her that when he was her age (quite small), his daddy helped him make a toy sailboat to play with during the hot, hot summers. How he spent hours cruising the nefarious "seas" with the Lady McQuay, named after the brand on the wax paper sail it bore (the packaging to the most reliable piston rings on the market, according to his daddy). The memory of working with his father to build the tiny boat stuck with him his whole life - and when he was "all growed up," he decided to make a life-size one himself.

The little girl thinks for a minute. She looks outside the barn door and sees the big treehouse her daddy built in the tree outside the summer before, next to the swing he hung from impossibly high branches the year before that. She glances over at the raised flowerbed they built a few months ago, when he let her pick out the flowers to plant all by herself. She feels her eyes fill with tears a little, but she is just a little too young to really understand why.

She hugs her father tightly, pats the boat reverently. "It's a very pretty boat, daddy. I wish I could have seen the first one."

Note: Submitted at Write with Pictures, a happy discovery. The boat (both of them), the treehouse, the swing, and the flowerbox are all real, although I didn't learn of the boat until I was far too big to swing my legs in the air under any bench!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"...I wonder what I'll think three years from now. I wonder who I'll be by then."

I wrote those words several weeks after I started law school - and in less than a week I will attend class for the last time, prepare for my final round of finals, and graduate. To be honest, I'm a little stunned that I am finally here. Three years later.

It is cliche, but it can't be helped: so much has changed. I have changed. There have been the inevitable detours and roadblocks along the way (i.e. the occasional abysmal grade(s), a twice-broken relationship, multiple apartment crises), but I like to think I am learning how to move forward with some degree of grace. Change has always been a dear friend of mine because it provokes such delightful opportunities for growth - and the past three years have certainly been an exercise in embracing change fully.

How many times can one person lose their love, faith, hope, and self - only to find them again at the end of the day? Despite the perilous journey, law school didn't kill me, God didn't smite me, and I've come out on the other side a more complete me, I think.

I finally more afraid of burglars than the legal profession (as it should be, I feel - but that is not how it started out). I don't have to worry about not getting that "dream" job, because I didn't - and I not only survived, I landed somewhere I think I was meant to be in the first place. I have a newfound appreciation for my delightful family, my dear friends, early mornings, and the relentless, essential struggle that is adulthood. I've searched my soul and discovered a new kind of peace with myself that I didn't know I needed before.

So three years later, that is what I think. This is who I am. I am so thankful to have landed (nearly) on my feet. Gives me so much hope for the future, no matter what happenstance throws my way next. To new beginnings...