Saturday, June 15, 2013

Piecing Our Lives Together

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Last night Jeremy's aunt was telling a story from her childhood when her sister interrupted and said, Wait a minute. I've never heard that story! The two women looked at each other. Then Jeremy's aunt smiled and said to her sister, Well, it's a good thing we have each other because eventually we'll get our lives pieced together. These women are nearly seventy years old.

I love those moments when you hear your parents, spouse, siblings, or children tell a story you've never heard before and then you look into a face that is as familiar as your own and think to yourself How could I have not known that about you? I thought I knew all your stories. 

Jeremy's aunt's response, that together they would eventually get their lives pieced together, feels exactly right and true. When I tell stories about my childhood they sound one way. When my mother retells the same stories they sound a little different and of course both versions are true. Stories are organic, and our perception of the past will always be imbued with our own experience and point of view. But how boring is the single, straight forward version? Jeremy always teases me that I don't let facts get in the way of a good story, and he's right. But that's what makes my stories exciting and funny. And how boring to think we've already heard everything there is to hear. I prefer a quilt with many colors. I prefer hearing multiple versions of the same story, and to expect that the people closest to me can still surprise me with their stories. When I'm a grandmother I sincerely hope my sisters and I will still be piecing together our lives.

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