Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An exercise in memories part I

True to the name of this blog I have made the conscious decision to be more intentional about remembering. And, of course, that has had me thinking back to some of my earliest memories. I am fortunate enough to have been born into a large (by today’s standards) family. I am one of six siblings (five still living.) I am the only girl. I am the middle child, but I also qualify as a firstborn (in personality) due to being the first and only one of my gender. I do not have any memories of being alone as a child. As a matter of fact, when I hear my children talk about their memories and especially when I hear my husband talk about his memories, I realize just how few memories of have of my very early childhood. I do not know why I did not retain many of these memories; perhaps it was the timing of my families move to a foreign country and all the other things my brain had to deal with, such as learning a new language. Regardless, the memories I do have are like a trailer to a movie. They exist in scenes that are in no particular chronological order, nor are they particularly significant events. They are just what I remember.
I was born in Greeley, CO; but lived in Windsor, CO for the first five years of my life. I remember taking a nap one day with my mom, and waking up in time to pop some popcorn and feed it to the birds as we waited for my older brothers, Jason and Jeff, to get home from school. I remember wanting so badly to play with my big brothers and I remember three of these special occasions. Once I played G.I. Joe with them and some other kids from the neighborhood. I was one of the girl team members and I had been kidnapped and taken to the sandbox (which my dad built me in our back yard.) The other Joel were going to rescue me. I did not realize that I played in my box most of the time just waiting for the ‘rescue’, I was just happy to be a part of the game. Another day I was Jason and Jeff’s detective agency secretary. I would stay in their room, answer the phone and cook them food while they were out solving cases. I am beginning to see a pattern here—I was really gullible. One day I actually got to go to a friend house with my brothers. I believe the boy we were playing with was an only child. I seem to remember he had a lot of toys. But the event that made this day memorable was that he didn’t seem to want to interrupt play time and had an ‘accident’ and I thought that was odd since he was older than me.
Again I do not know why there are the memories my mind has locked away to remember, but they are. I do also remember always choosing ‘Clap Your Hands’ as my pick to sing on the Sunday evenings where we would sing from the hymnal as people picked songs. I loved that song.
I remember going to my Mama and Papa’s with J & J without my mom and dad. Mama painted me up like a clown one day and on another day they took us to the store to pick out any candy we would like. I chose marshmallows and J & J picked packages of bubble gum. They then proceeded to chew multiple pieces at once and blew a bubble so big it got stuck all over their faces.
I do not remember much about these first few years. I do not remember my younger brother Josh at all. This saddens me. He was born when I was almost 3 and died a year later. I wish I had some memory of this. I also do not remember my younger brother Joel being born either. Somehow my memories of him begin when he was about two. He is in most of my memories from then on. I had a love-hate relationship with both Jeff who was 4 years older and Joel who was 3 ½ years younger. My oldest brother Jason has always been (in my memories) the peace keeper with me. He was probably too old (6yrs older) to really do much with me. Yet I do remember his last year at home feeling particularly close to him as he let me tag along with him quite often.
I also have a younger brother, Jonathan. He is awesome, and I will discuss him in a later post since he was born after these memories took place.
I do not remember these years, but I know they were important ones. My family when through a lot these few years. My parents surrendered their lives (and our) to the call to missions. They would embark our family on a truly unparalleled adventure. Now that I am a mother of five myself, I can only begin to appreciate the magnitude of the decision they made. Their belief and commitment to God is something I will always admire and strive to live up to. They were willing to leave all their comforts and family and friends and to take their five children to an unfamiliar country on an unfamiliar continent that spoke an unfamiliar language, to minister whole-heartedly to an unfamiliar culture without any promise of how thing would be for them or for us. Those next 14 years of my life would prove to be some of the best of my life. I thank God for calling our family to missions, and I thank mom and dad for being brave enough to go; and to lead us by example in how to take up your cross daily and follow Christ.


Becky Dietz said...

The brain and emotions are interesting, aren't they? My first memory of you is when we put you and a newly born Amy beside one another in a baby bed. And buying you a Dietz Bros. baby tshirt! ha! So many fun times!

Jason said...

One of my memories of those days back in Windsor was when you were due to be born. We had at least two or three false alarms late at night where Jeff and I got to go sleep at strangers houses before you finally decided to come along!

amy wright said...

I remember playing with you at our house in Amarillo when we were probably 3 or 4. I remember playing baby dolls together. But my first real memory of you was when you came to the States for the first furlough. It was so fun to finally have a girl to play with in the family. :)
I also have one memory of Joshua. I guess he had been taking a nap in what became Papa's room. I walked past the room and saw him awake in his bed. His pacifier was laying on the ground (it was white I think) and I went to give it to him. Then your mom came in and got him and let me talk to him.

Janis Dietz said...

Oh, SO many memories! I remember how the Muzak in the hospital played the song "Emily" just a few minutes after you were born. I remember that picture we took of you and Amy together in the baby bed that Becky mentioned. I, too, remember the popcorn times you mentioned. I remember you (around age 2) pretending to vacuum the vacuum the floor with the "popcorn" push toy and asking me to move the couch so you could sweep under and behind it. You'd never seen me do that! Wonderful memories of all of those years!

Emily Panter said...

Amy and Becky I'm afraid my memories of you all don't start until our first time back in the USA; but then you all became one of the most stable things in my often changing life.

I love that God allows us to remember and that sounds and smells can trigger a whole slew of precious momentos. I love you all.