The Junk Drawer

Beth - New Windsor, Maryland
Entered on October 7, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, legacy, place
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It occupies a space in every house, in every neighborhood, in every city. You get the idea. It’s that blessed junk drawer. The place we stash the stuff we can’t part with. Maybe it’s just where we put things that don’t really have a place, but shouldn’t be thrown out. That is until I open it, or rather attempt to open it. Its so full I can’t open it. It’s only after I squeeze my hand in and start pulling out old party invitations, address books, and rulers that I actually get it open. Just as I put it up to the trash can to dump the entire contents, something catches my eye. Right there under the red velvet Christmas ribbon and on top of the scotch tape that I have been hunting for since last Easter. It’s black and white and surprisingly still shiny. Gleaming up at me is the fuzzy, barely legible sonogram picture of my third and last baby. Four grainy pictures in one long strip. That old song by Roberta Flack, “The first time ever I saw your face” instantly comes to mind. There she was. Looking more like ET than a baby girl. “She looked like you even back then” I tell my husband. He shakes his head at me and mumbles something about another wedding to pay for as he shuffles past both of our daughters to get back to the baseball game of the week.

I see other things too as I gaze at the black and white image. Her chubby little hand is in her mouth even before she gets into the world. I silently pray that it doesn’t leave my own hand too quickly. The first time she cried. I thought for sure there was not a sweeter sound in the whole world. How is it that the first cry is so sweet, but when they are a week old and up every two hours you just wish they would stop all that crying for goodness sake so you can get some sleep.

There are things behind the images I capture as I look at it. The first time she rolls over. As I look at what could be a foot I remember the first time she crawled and then walked. Under that tiny nose lies a tiny mouth and I hear da-da and ma-ma come out of it for the first time. Adorable, compared to the screams she is letting loose as she fights with her older sister.

I see her precious little ear buds and remember all the ear infections that led to tubes. Hoping so much that she will share secrets that come through them with me. That endearing little head, so small and full of hope and promise, wondering where she will go to college. I’ll ponder that to myself since hubby would see tuition, and not college. I think of all the girlfriends she will have and all the giggling they will do. The homework she will have and hopefully conquer easily.

Those precious little legs will run and play soccer. They will climb jungle gyms and slide down slides. I think of all the dances they will dance. Oh how I hope those sweet little legs will dance. And yes, I anxiously await the dance of her own wedding. I hope the one who captures that little heart beating protects it as much as we do.

So as I grab a package of tissues from that junk drawer, I slide it and all it’s contents back in place. You know, there are just some things that shouldn’t be thrown out.