Sunday, August 1, 2010

pockets: a post full of lint, tangents and gummy snacks

I think the contents of your pockets evolve as we age. As a toddler I can guess what I stuffed in my pockets: candy, grass, pebbles or other secret trinkets I wanted to safely guard--I basically had a tiny treasure chest at my disposal.

I grew up slightly and began to stuff my pockets with lip gloss, change for the ice cream cart at school and pogs for recess (yes, pogs...who remembers those?!) I'd also find in my pockets little "I love yous that my mom would tuck in my lunch box and baseball ticket stubs from my date with my dad. In my pockets you'd see notes that had been passed back and forth with my friends.

As a teenager I would slink my hands into my pockets to find violations, uniform warnings and homework reminders for the next day. My pockets in my teen years weren't all bad--I would have quotations, sayings or thoughts that I had to write down on paper. It was during this time that I discovered my passion for poetry and that I could, actually, believe-it-or-not, string words together to flow into a poem that sounded pretty good. I don't know if I ever really wanted to write poetry, I always loved my father's poems, and how his words dripped onto paper with emotion and provoked thought. We'd be sitting in a restaurant and all of a sudden, my father would begin to find a pen, or ask the waitress for one, grab a napkin and begin to pen his thoughts. he'd gently tuck it away in his suit jacket or pants pocket and I'd eagerly wait for the next poem. He'd call me in, print off his newest masterpiece and while the paper, still warm from the printer, I'd gaze at the words, the meaning and just take it in and be in complete awe of my dad. I also loved knowing, that the secret words he put on napkins, receipts or pamphlets in front of me, might have ended up in that very poem. That's why I began to write, that's why I love poetry; my dad's ability to let life percolate in his mind and pour those ideas into a coffee cup of words blew me away and I wanted to know how the world worked in that way. So I let my mind wander--I'd let it float away, I'd turn on my poetry ears and listen for the world to speak to me, for God to speak to me and I'd write. I'd share my poems with my dad, and the greatest part was that he was just as eager as I was to read my poems as I was his. I hope and prayer that he knows my love of writing is solely from him. The sad part is that my pockets are empty--no words, no thoughts--my grown up life stepped in and has strung an iron curtain over my pockets--I can't stuff them with rambling ideas. As soon as I begin to write, my adult brain says, "that sounds silly, stupid, childish--you can't write anymore." I need to somehow get past that and just write--maybe a lunch date with my father would do me well.

The best contents in anyone's pocket is money. Not money that we knowingly put there, but money we forgot about. Each season Theresa and I would pack up our clothes and we would switch them out for the upcoming season. There was never a doubt that late in the season, I'd slip on my favorite pair of jeans, put my hands in my pocket and viola, money. Most times it was only a few dollars, but once in a while there would be a 10 or 20 dollar bill---JACKPOT! I really came to appreciate that surprise money when Theresa and I were driving. Money meant that we were able to fill up our gas tank--and a full gas tank is a must when you are a hot-to-trot teen wanting to drive where ever your heart desired. I can't really describe that feeling of finding money when you don't think you have any--maybe some of you can appreciate that, maybe I don't need words to describe it because hopefully you all understand what I am trying to say!

In my pockets through college I could find quick notes for a test I was cramming for, phone numbers of new college friends, indoor soccer game times, and a number from one boy in particular, Doug Wolking. Now, I'll save you the love story but I met Doug just as I graduating from high school and transitioning into my college life at Western Kentucky University. I was smitten, but he didn't feel the same way. Friends, sure, but that was the end of it. He liked another girl, but through a series of events I am sure you truly don't want to invest your time in, Doug and I began to date. July 2nd, 2002 was the day that God laid out the next chapter of my life--I am so glad that chapter involved (and still involves Doug). From July of 2002 to present day my pockets have contents of dates: movie tickets, putt-putt score cards, love notes, etc all things that mean more to me than a surprise $20.00 bill! Doug and I were married on August 4th, 2006. This week will mark our fourth wedding anniversary and it has been the most amazing four years of my life. Four years have been filled with a child, arguments, joy, tears and laughter--all things that don't necessarily fill my pockets but they sure enrich my life, who needs pockets then!?

Present day, my pockets are filled with to-do lists; both for home and work, drawings from my son, grocery receipts, lint, uv lenses for my camera and just this morning I put my hands in my pockets only to find a washed up gummy snack which when washed and dried in your pants pocket, creates a nice, sticky binding agent that is almost impossible to get rid of. I have so many "mom" relics in my pockets i could open up a museum. It was while in church today I found that nice sticky gummy snack in my pocket that i realized you can really find out a lot about a person through the contents of their pockets. My pockets are the hiding spots or cover ups or the, "I don't have time to throw this away because I am playing cars with my son, so I'll stick it in my pocket until later". On the outside of my life it looks like I am so well put together--that I clean all the time, laundry and dishes done (with the tremendous help of Doug), toys always put away and counted for--yes, I am a control freak. So it is quite surprising to see that my pockets are far from my OCD list of "neat and orderly". I've decided that's ok--because I am sure people think that I am stiff or too uptight about things...but I ask you to check my pockets the next time you think that--you'll discover a lot more about me. You'll find a whole life of memories and secrets that I have tucked away from the world. That gummy snack was on the kitchen floor--minutes before company arrived, so I quickly shoved it in my pocket because even though I wanted the place to look nice--I wasn't about to stop play time with my son to walk two-feet to throw that dang piece of candy away! So to me it's not just a gummy snack that will be stuck to my pocket for eternity--it is a memory--I still remember Deacon transforming himself from a three old into a monster, then into a race car that preceded to chase me around the house. The way he shook his body as if he were starting his engine and gliding his shoe as one would rev their engine right before the gun goes off. That day Deacon was lightening McQueen and I was Doc, well then I was The King, or maybe I was that other car--who knows, but what what I do know is that I hope that piece of candy never washes out of my pocket, because it is now my $20.00 bill--it is my sweet memory I'll cherish forever.

So I'll leave you with a simple question--What's in your pocket, right now? What does it say about you? What memories do you have of the contents of your pockets? Enjoy life, love and cherish your memories.

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