When you have lived in a house as long as we have, things have a habit of lodging themselves in the back of places and you never know they are there.
Until, you have to move your massive armoire over six inches and you have to empty the entire thing out. There, on the top shelf, behind the long underwear and old sweaters that have that funky stripe of dust on them because they haven’t been unfolded in countless years, was the t-shirt above.
Size 24 month.
That belonged to the girl who will turn 21 YEARS next month.
How it got there I will never know. It was not a particularly favorite shirt, although it does say Delray on it and Mom, I am sure we bought it at that little place we loved on Atlantic Avenue. So although the shirt itself does not hold any particular memories of little Jana, the days we spent in Florida when she was young surely do.
I held up that little shirt and a rush of memories came flooding in. The smell of suntan lotion mixed with Desitin (she used to eat so much sand it was rough going on the way out). The way she could sit in a hole that Gary dug for her on the beach for hours. Standing at the shoreline with each of us holding one of her chubby little hands and lifting her up as the waves crashed on her feet, her squealing with delight each time as if it were the first. The cry of ‘five more minutes’ when we told her it was time to get out of the water. My kids adored the beach. Nature or nurture? Both, I am sure. Salt air and sand are something ingrained in their lives and a symbol of their childhoods.
That little Jana was one handful. Loads of fun but always giving me a run for my money. She could out-stubborn me any day of the week. Those toddler years were trying as hell but damn what I would not give for just one more day of that curly-headed little whirling dervish.
And now she is halfway across the globe navigating the world as if she were riding her bike around the corner, “It’s fine mom, I’ll figure it out, don’t worry.”
Don’t worry?! Isn’t that my job?
Janny-girl, I am thinking that I just might have to save that little shirt a while longer. And no, you cannot still wear it even though I know you love tiny T’s.