“Guess the date on this one,” said my mom, knelt in front of a kitchen cupboard, presenting a large pickle jar she had unearthed. It was still completely full of untouched pickles, each calmly bathing, unaware that time had passed.
We chuckled, and the thought that that pickle jar had sat patiently in that cupboard since I was a baby crossed my mind. I always look back on the years from before I was old enough to form meaningful memories as a dim light. When you can start painting clear images in your mind’s canvas, when time starts glowing with vibrancy, that’s when you start marking your calendar.
My calendar probably started when I was about four years old. The first thing I marked was my mother taking a picture of me and my older brother on the day of Obama’s election (no, I don’t really know why she did that either). I was wearing Thomas the Tank Engine pajamas. It was then that my house began lighting up with color and soul. Since then, my brain has kept track of the house’s atmosphere each year as well as any events that transpired in my life. For example: Christmas of 2010. My calendar was still growing, so the shadows still danced on the walls as a sign of my lack of clarity. I still vividly remember the key details; my parents and my brother sitting in a circle opening presents. I think that might’ve been one of the times my family was most together before my parents started separating.
Another standout event among the days was during spring 2016. The start of my passion for theatre. Tumwater High School needed younger performers for Oliver! to play the orphans, as a handout that my mom brought home said. Since then my calendar has been filled with theatre-related memories of Les Mis hugs, Pugsley Addams makeup, and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee laughter.
While it’s fun to flip through the pages, it’s all too easy to reminisce and miss those simpler times, especially while making the double-edged transition to adulthood. Despite kitchen tear-ups and the recent loss of a border pit, my house has stayed constant across the years. I don’t know what it’s like to live anywhere else. Yet, now I’m gearing up to launch into life without training wheels 150 miles north of where my life began. As my life begins anew, I sometimes long to return to the early days. The days of simple pleasures. The days of kittens in garbage bins, the days of shady summers in the park with a neighbor, the days of religiously playing Minecraft on the Xbox 360 with my brother, the days of stepping up to the plate, gripping a bat with determination and a little bit of anxiety. But of course, time marches on.
A calendar is what’s on the walls in your house, but home is the calendar on the walls in your brain.