Admittedly, I am one of those people that turns up the radio in their car, sings off key and may even dance a little (who am I kidding, a lot). I often wonder what the driver in the lane across from me is thinking. I’m pretty sure he or she must think I’m insane, unless they too are one of these turn up the radio and turn into the next Carrie Underwood. I use her as an example only because she was one of us that managed to get a spot on American Idol and jettison herself to stardom. I do not see that in my future, mainly because I am secretly tone deaf – not so secret if you have ever actually heard me sing. Anyway, the song I find myself belting out in the car as of late is Cole Swindel’s (sorry if you are not a country fan) In the Middle of a Memory. It just resonates with me and I realized why when I briefly attended Spring Fling at my high school. And yes, teaching high school is like being in high school permanently; you attend dances and games, hear about all the drama, have to figure out the lunch situation, and have homework nightly. The difference is that you actually hope you are not the ‘cool’ teacher. But there I was at this dance because my seniors asked me to come and take pictures since I would be unable to attend prom, when I normally do these photoshoots, and the realization that I was about to pause my life for the next year came with the camera flash.
I am leaving my life, as I know it, in the middle of a memory. That’s what life is all about making memories, some of which are captured on film and many are less momentous but more important to your story. And I am virtually walking away from all of it and even though I know it is necessary and it may be the end to Hodge (who has been both harassing and stalking me for nearly three years now), it doesn’t make that concept any easier. It’s not about what you may be missing. That would have been the worst when you were in high school, the thought of missing out on something, anything that anyone else is doing. It’s about not getting to live your own life…I can’t just walk in the door and except sloppy dog kisses from Jax or Josh for that matter. I can’t just pick up the phone and ask my mom if she wants to come with on a Target run so we can buy things we don’t need. I can’t tag along with my dad on a random errand. I can’t go on road trips to Yankee Candle and Judie’s with my girl friends, or have dinner out with anyone. I can’t even attend my sweet goddaughter’s birthday. Work is an obvious can’t and I will feel left out of the loop there. Weddings are a definite no (which means there won’t be any fun photo booth pictures unless I can convince Josh we need one at home). So in many ways I am walking away from my life in the middle of a memory.
And I know I will be able to stay connected through facetime/skype and the phone and social media, but it’s not the same. And I will be a terrible hermit, especially because I don’t believe I have the right wardrobe for it. For some reason when I picture a hermit, I picture an aging male with a father time beard and canvas nightshirt with a walking stick. Funny that the wardrobe was the thing I don’t think I have in that scenario. (Steph may have been right years ago, my head IS a scary place). But regardless of the fact I am social, not town mayor social necessarily but social. Just ask my soon to be sister in law, Halley, who got to see first hand my social butterfly tendencies at the Cancer Center. I know everyone, they know me, and we enjoy each other’s company. And yes it may be an odd place to make friends, but nevertheless I did. I am someone who needs that, who thrives on interaction with others and the very thought of 365 days of comparable solitude doesn’t leave me very excited. I know it’s for the best, I know I’ll adjust but it still feels like I’m taking a time out.
Here is what I can say, always be present in your life because you don’t want to walk out in the middle of a memory – what if that memory is one that you will cherish until your old and grey? What if that moment changes your life and you want to hang on to it as long as possible? Enjoy the moments of your life, sing loudly in the car, do the unexpected because there may come a time when you can’t. In two weeks, I won’t be able to live my normal life, so I will have to find ways to make transplant time memories. I’m guessing they will be interesting and will all include hospital masks (which I intend to decorate) and gloves. Even though I may be walking out in the middle of a memory in one way I’m walking into one in another. This experience will no doubt be the most challenging and rewarding of my life.