15 June 2009

the pain of longing for today.

i'm not one to put all my eggs in the basket of the dictionary definition of a word, but i have to say that this evening, i'm motivated to actually look one up. (this is not to say that i don't believe in dictionaries - i love them, but there are a lot of words for which the connotation is actually appreciably different and sometimes contradictory to the denotion, which is all a dictionary will offer. So... i just think one has to be careful not to limit a word to the dictionary definition too much... whew)

nostalgia: The term nostalgia describes a longing for the past, often in idealized form.[1] The word is made up of two roots (νόστος nostos "returning home", and άλγος algos "pain"), to refer to "the pain a sick person feels because he wishes to return to his native home".
This according to the Gospel of Wikipedia.

I experience nostalgia often -

I am nostalgic for my early childhood (ages 3-7) when I can remember vividly being fitted for my Circus tuxedo when I was four, who I sat by in my kindergarten class (between Tal and Brock, end of table, in Mrs. Brasfield's and Mrs. Hull's class), and making stone soup in the first grade.

I am nostalgic for those lovely middle grades - when i had the best haircut of my life in 4th grade, shaving my legs (after lengthy written negotiations with my parents about a shave-start-date), playing in the pearl river (new years resolution in sixth grade was to have 'too much fun in '96'-), going to the fair sans supervision, and learning the macarena.

I am nostalgic for high school - corsages, making out, hammocks, being a designated driver, playing pool, reading literature and thinking I was the first person to discover it, and beginning to write competently.

I am nostalgic for college - both the pre-Ada college - chicken on a stick, waking up and it taking a minute to remember all of the priceless details from the night before, alcohol sick friends, cigarettes, the first class in which your brain became stimulated, talking with other people who love and are fascinated by the same things you are -
and with-Ada college - falling in love, talking about your future when one is supposed to be studying, sweatshirts, swingsets in the park, real intellectual stimulation, and learning to laugh at ourselves.

And now I find myself nostalgic for today - wishing to come back home - as though I have really already left. Because I know that I will not have very many days like today - and certainly those days will end.

A day when I got to stand up and lead the girl part of "Praise ye the Lord" at Vacation Bible School while Paul stood up and led the boy part, both of us cracking up the whole time.

A day when I listened to my husband rant and rave about the stupid f**ingly inefficient city of Jackson, which has left the fire hydrant in our front yard running for over 24 hours now, and then a day when I watched it come over his face that maybe their inefficiency wasn't so bad after all.... as he rounded up the children and pushed them outside to experience the fire hydrant first hand.

A day when I watched as my kids giggled and loved and laughed their way to a cooler June afternoon - soaked and delighted, as they ate fresh cherries for a post hydrant snack, and Eason tried to teach Ada Brooks to spit 'sherry seeds'.

A day when I cooked a fresh tomato tart for supper, and listened to my family be genuinely pumped about fresh basil. All three of them.

A day when I sat on my couch between two sparkling post bath children and read "The Foot Book" by Dr. Seuss and then patted them on behinds and sent them off to be tucked in by their (more-mobile) father.

A day when I looked at my husband and realized how much I respect him.

I am already in pain for the fact that nothing will ever be this day again. Nothing. Perhaps nostalgia is not the pain that comes from wanting to go home - it is the pain that comes from knowing that it's impossible. Hopefully, this nostalgia will be motivational - push me toward loving every moment - even (and especially) pouring bleach on the cherry stains.

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