Gettysburg Address in the 5th grade (I still know it), I could tell you what you wore on any given day, and can playback entire conversations from as long ago as nursery school. I just remember things, which can sometimes be good or bad.
Most of these things are facts or feelings, I often can't remember where I hid my keys from Spencer. But recently I've noticed a startling a trend- I've forgotten, or blocked out, large parts of who I used to be. Before Spencer (BS), I was the ultimate hopeless romantic, the girl who believed love conquered all, and there was no romantic comedy that I didn't like. During my freshman year of college, our hall ordered t-shirts that had our names and a quote about us on it- mine was "Katie 'I love love." I had a kissing wall, every year, in all of my dorm rooms- photos and magazine cut outs of various kisses. I unconditionally gave my whole heart to the love of my life.
Then one day I had a baby and all my love went to her. It no longer seemed appropriate to be that girl anymore, after all, it was my amorous ways that got me here. Deep down though, I'm still that same hopeless romantic who believes in soul mates and true love. But, it makes me sad to remember that Katie (uh oh, I'm talking in the 3rd person) and how I thought I was going to grow up, become a pro bono lawyer, get married, have kids, and live happily ever after. That's still no excuse for completely excising that part of myself just because it makes me wistful.
Yesterday, I realized that it wasn't just the "I love love" me that I put on the back burner, I also did it with, to a lesser extent, the government loving patriotic me. I still talk about politics, but if you knew me BS you'd know that it was one of my favorite topics to discuss- I don't think a day went by when I didn't talk about it in some way or another. But then I had a baby and continuing law school was no longer an option- talking about politics, governments and laws only reminded me that I wasn't going to have the life I'd spent years preparing for.
I was listening to NPR on the way home from celebrating the 4th with the PGP's and they did a segment on the WASPs, no not White Anglo Saxon Protestants. The WASPS, Women Airforce Service Pilots, were female pilots during WWII who flew military aircraft for the United States Army Airforce. They were flight instructors, test flew sick planes to make sure they were suitable for flying before the men flew them, and were often used to pilot planes that were being used as target practice for the men learning how to shoot while flying. Thirty-Eight of them died and not one was allowed to have a military burial or a Gold Star- the US didn't even pay to have their bodies shipped back to their families. After the War, Congress defeated a proposed bill that would have given these women the military benefits they deserved and went so far as to seal the records of the WASPs, their contribution hidden from the world. On July 1, 2009, 65 years after their records were sealed, President Obama awarded these courageous women with the Congressional Gold Medal.
When I heard this, I burst into tears- which surprised me. But I thought about why it had elicited such an emotional response and the answer came to me- these ladies were heroes who were unjustly forgotten. They dedicated a part of their life, some gave their lives, to a cause and were then forced to ignore it, to pretend like it never happened.
And here I am, shutting out, ignoring huge parts of myself just because it makes me sad?! So what if I don't have the life I imagined? It may be different, but I LOVE it. All I've really wanted, my whole life, is to be remembered, have a legacy- change the world for the better in some small way. I still plan on achieving that goal, I'm not sure how, but I still see endless opportunities in my future. I'm not sure why I've going about these past two years as if the old me no longer exists, or isn't really relevant to the current or future me.
My baby turns two on Friday. Two. She's a little girl now and I'm having some trouble accepting that. I keep thinking about our life together and how I wouldn't trade it for anything in this world. I'm happy- there's no longer a reason for me to forget who I was. Spencer is almost at the age where she's going to remember her life- our life- and I want to be all of me for her, not just the parts I've carved out. After all, if I hadn't been me I wouldn't have had her, and that's not something I ever want to forget.