As Elsa and I were getting ready for a little getaway to the Sunshine State this weekend to attend a friends wedding I came across this little gem.
This might look like a raggedy old suitcase to you but this little beauty is my old suitcase. This suitcase signifies my start in life and when I saw it, for the first time in so long, it reminds me how far I've come. She feels like an old friend that I haven't seen in years and laying eyes on her brought forth some unexpected emotions. I used this suitcase when I first left home to conquer the world at eighteen years old. Though the suit case has been replaced by bigger, more functional ones, I love it all the same and am so thankful to still have her. This suitcase is part of my history. It has accompanied me on the many trips I took back to Indiana from Florida, family vacations, to other countries, to other continents. I remember sitting in my college dorm room so young and innocent, and no doubt home sick as ever, tying this green ribbon the handle to distinguish my suitcase from others. I know, at that very moment I didn't want to be a way from home, from the comforts of what I know and those I love, though I knew being on my own was necessary for me, something I absolutely, without a doubt had to do. I think of myself then, always dreaming of what life would be and following that ever strong passion in my heart to keep moving, keep going, to explore what was out there, to challenge myself, always planning my next move to help me find my path, and I can't help but feel amazed and proud. This suitcase was my freedom.
As I was pulling the suitcase out of the cramped closet Thursday, I realized that might have be the first time the sight of a suitcase did not make me giddy inside, possibly because I was leaving part of myself behind. Do I dare say the word? I am knocking on wood as we speak. I think I might be content. Happy where I am, with what I am and who I am. It is such a wonderful feeling, yet terrifying. The churning in my chest is finally still. I am finally able to focus all my energy on what is in front of me. Finally don't feel short changed in life if I don't have this one last experience I have conjured in my head. I am finally at peace.
As I write this all I can think and hope for our girls is that they get a chance to experience life to the fullest before they attempt to settle in. I hope I remember to remind that through all the plane rides, adventures, loneliness, heartache, mistakes, letdown, and heartbreak, a whole person is being formed. Though some of it totally sucked at the time, it seems at least in my case, they were necessary in the development of my own unique happiness.
I keep thinking of this quote by Henry David Thoreau, "Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves".
As their mother, I hope I will be able to open their eyes to the wonders or of this inspiring world and spark that desire inside them to experience everything they possibly can. Not to fret when lost but to enjoy the journey.
I am still surprised this suitcase made it to Saint Croix with me and though I know my journeys and challenges through life are far from over I just have to remember this moment. Right here, right now in this little condo on this little island, with my little family, I am content and the happiest I have ever been. Crazy it took an old suitcase to remind me of this. George tells me that some search their whole life for this very feeling, so for this, I give thanks.
Elsa and I had a great trip though we missed George and Nyah immensely. Congrats to Cassy and Josh!