Memory Lane

All We Do and All We Did... by Roni Delmonico

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Some things are very true...  Like how "food is memories."  Like how the song remembers when. Like how fast time goes by and how you should cherish every moment.  Like how hard you love in the time that you have.  And how hugely your heart expands with your table.

Mornings are so much quieter these days.

But dinner time?  It was always our special time.  For 6 years before kids came along, we made a point to eat dinner together at the table.  We were only in our twenties then and it was one of the first pieces of furniture we ever bought; a sweet little pine trestle table we picked out together from the Bloomingdales catalogue.  We thought it was so fancy and at $200 it was the most expensive piece of furniture we owned.  It had a knot in it that looked like an owl, two eyes staring up at us while we ate and talked well into the night.  Later, my son and his best friend rolled out Christmas cookie dough and dropped half of it on the floor, while eating the other half before it ever made it to the oven.  We played cards with our friends.  We covered it with paper tablecloths and birthday cakes year after year.  It was a welcome, sturdy, dependable gathering place for a very long time.  We eventually outgrew it and it landed in a yard sale, years ago.  I didn't know then... what I know now.

I find myself wishing that I still had that table.  That table means a lot to me.  It is part of our history. Wherever it is now, it still is.. I suppose.  It lives in so many photographs.  I hope maybe out there somewhere, some other couple in their twenties might be sitting down to dinner, laughing and finishing a bottle of wine at an old yellow pine table with the face of an owl in its surface.  Wise old thing.

We've got time that's all our own now... that  time has finally come.

That's how it is.  Yup.  That's how it is.

A Wild and Quiet Place At World's End by Roni Delmonico

There are places of the heart, where I like to hide away. It is these places I turn to, when I want to be alone, re-charge, find my center, remember the things that are truly important to me. The sand in this image is the exact spot where I was sitting when I took the photographs of the monk seal family I sat with at sunset the last time I visited Molokai. (I shared the pup on my blog yesterday). It is the beach in front of a little forgotten resort on one of the most beautiful stretches of sand that I have ever laid eyes on. It changed hands several times through the years and was once a thriving Sheraton resort with a restaurant that had arguably some of the best views in all of Hawaii. It's also quite a beautiful surfing spot, a wild and quiet place. And it adjoins Pohaku Mauliuli Beach where portions of Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End was filmed. Sometimes, it does feel that way. Haunting, and like it's literally at world's end.

Sadly, its history is one of fighting between those with money who wanted to change this side of the island without considering the feelings of the locals who disagreed with their methods and those who staunchly refused (and continue to refuse) to allow that to happen. Molokai has a rich and painful history... and it is one that Hawaiians who love her, protect fiercely. I love this island more than I can quantify in words.

Today, the hotel and resort is slowly being reclaimed by mother nature but there are a number of condo owners who continue to keep a small circle of them alive and running. Most of them feel a deep love and respect for the Hawaiian people and the storied history of the island.

For me... it has become an oasis.
Kepuhi Beach, Molokai (formerly the Kaluakoi Resort)

Born of a Story by Roni Delmonico

It was a beautiful night and the stadium was completely full.  The smell of popcorn, french fries, pizza and hot dogs mingled on the night air and the chanting of the cheerleading squads led both sides in some good natured ribbing.  The game between arch rivals promised to be a challenging one and everyone felt nervous and excited. Friday night lights were already glowing and the homecoming court would be introduced at half time on floats the student body had worked on tirelessly right up until the very last minute.  There were decorations everywhere.

In a little room to the side of the field, a young girl stood feeling somewhat out of place, wearing a dress that made her feel beautiful, even as it made her feel strange.  Pulse fluttering, she could smell the fresh roses in her hair and reached a hand up to run her fingers over the tiny buds tenderly... hoping to find some sense of calm in the gesture. Her hands were shaking.  She hated being the center of attention for any reason... her usual place in the game was on the sidelines with a clipboard in her hands, marking stats and keeping score.  Older sister to many brothers, she felt entirely at home surrounded by this group of guys who made up the high school football team.  Not quite sixteen, she had already learned to put on a brave face, while inwardly battling her emotions.  Placid and cool on the outside, scared and shy on the inside. Looking around at the other girls, she felt way way way out of her league.

When it came time to walk out onto the field and up onto the float, her friend and classmate, and quarterback on the football team held his arm out to her and smiled reassuringly.  She took it and found it steady and comforting.  The band began to play and they ascended, halfway up the ramp.  

And then... everything shifted.  

The ramp gave way beneath them and she fell to the ground first.  It knocked the flowers from her hair and she held her breath, bracing for the impact of the 6' 2, 200 pound football player about to land directly on top of her, hard.  Somewhere in her heart, she registered that the entire stadium had gone completely silent, collectively holding their breath as he came down on top of her, crushing her flowers, as he rolled sideways and did his best to avoid crushing her.  To a fifteen year old girl... it felt like an eternity.  I'm sure it did to him, too.

Somehow that girl mustered every ounce of dignity she could find within her that night, picked up her pride and the smashed flowers off the fifty yard line, and gently placed them back in her hair.  To her great relief, her escort brushed her off first and then himself, and they both turned to the crowd, who had still not made a single sound... and smiled.  She never forgot the ensuing roar, but she barely remembers the rest of that hour.

How I would love to go back and hug her on that night... tell her that it was only the first of many times she'd fall down and that she would always somehow find her way back up again, just as she did in that moment. That someday, her mother would find this photograph in a box, and give it to her and tell her that those silent moments were an eternity for her too. That when she was 48, she would pull out the photograph taken of her shortly before she fell... and decide to tell her story. That she wasn't fat, or a failure, or clumsy or any of the number of negative things she told herself in the years following... only human. That she wasn't the only one who struggled with those thoughts or felt out of place and that she could save herself a lot of heartache if she'd simply believe me. That eventually she'd look back on it all with a wisdom that can only come from years of experience and finally, finally love that little girl for how brave she was.. for how brave she is and for all the times she fought through hard things, instead of laying down on the playing field and giving up.

And then buy her a vase filled with perfect tiny pink roses.... and set her free.

Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves...
— Cheryl Strayed

All these years I've wanted to say so many things to her.  This morning, I realized she's been singing to me all along and I didn't need to talk to her... I needed to listen to her.

It's My Son by Roni Delmonico

About two weeks ago, my youngest son and I had a day together alone, which rarely happens. So I asked him out on a date and he said yes!:)  How lucky am I?  I took him to see the movie, When The Game Stands Tall, which turned out to have quite a few more life lessons in it than I ever expected and stirred both of our hearts to really think about the ways that football is more than just a game for him. I knew little about the film, other than that it was a movie about an undefeated football team and the extraordinary coach who led them.  Turns out it was about a whole lot more... faith, love, heart, emotions, brotherhood, what it means to be part of a team, dependability, sacrifice, leadership both on the field and off, sorrow, joy, and ultimately... what it means to grow up and  be a man who is able to feel and to love, in life.. as well as he is able to love the game.

I've watched my Eric grow by leaps and bounds in the past three years.  He is a freshman in high school and it is his third year playing football.  This year, the coach made him a wide receiver which is something new for him, and something he takes pride in.  I think we'll be spending a lot of time tossing a football with him in our backyard, this fall.  I found his playbook on the kitchen counter, open as if he had just been studying it and it drove home to me again... how these boys are growing up into lives apart from me... full of experiences that are uniquely their own and not mine.  I'm trying so hard not to blink but it's blinking by anyway. 

I have such a mixture of feelings when I look at this child.  When he smiles, he has a dimple that is so endearing and he has no idea of its effect on people. It adds a special warmth to a gentle smile. He is already so very good... at loving.  I wrote a post about his journey last year titled, Making The Most of the Daylight Hours.  Still applies today... maybe even more so. When I look at that photo of him from just last year, it tugs at my heart.  They change a lot from 13 - 15... passing from boyhood into something deeper. He's come such a long way in three short years and in my eyes, it isn't so much the game that stands tall... it's my son.