In my literature class last year, we compiled a 'book of memoirs'. These were various pieces of writing about us, our interests, or childhood, along with any pictures or such you wanted to include. The final piece we wrote was this one--based off of Walt Whitman's There was a child went forth poem. This is my poem that I wrote, edited a bit with some things added that I missed out the first time. It's full of memories and inside jokes and pretty much my entire life story. Enjoy!
There was a child went forth every day;
And the first object she look'd upon, that object she became;
And that object became part of her for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or a stretching cycles of years.
The father who came from Massachusetts to visit a high school friend but found much more,
And the mother who traveled from Florida to a school that wasn't her first choice,
And their meeting and constant love still after four children became part of this child.
The early morning-glories and bright birdsong, summers at the lake and Harry Potter in the hot car became part of this child.
And frozen noses with vanilla hot cocoa and Mr. Rogers, Lord of the Rings marathons and putting socks on younger siblings,
And damp leaf piles and oozing pumpkins, new daffodils and Easter kittens born in the closet,
And first sleepovers, and second sleepovers, and kicking each other off the bed because somebody needed leg room,
And gym class and science experiments, museums and picnics and Wayne from Maine, became part of this child.
The towering beige house with red shutters, the friendly neighborhood and dogs across the street,
Dogs that they walked and fed and loved.
And the tiny yard that held too many parties and slip'n'slides, too many hours of playing homemaker in a plastic house,
And the large, bright room with scattered color that the two girls shared until one left and the other got the small room—cramped and smushed, but her own,
And the dining room and kitchen with the piano and dusty sheet music, and the endless farm wallpaper,
And the lake down the road, often crowded with what seemed like the entire town; the one with swim lessons and playdates and summer lunches, became part of this child.
The yearly camping trips—high-stakes hide and seek, hot cocoa at 5am, and dutch oven food,
The trips to North Conway and Storyland, with moose hats and ultimate frisbee and hikes up huge mountains,
And a week at Disney when Maggie took literally all of the grape flavored water,
And yearly church retreats with their apple juice and braided hair and getting stuck in cabin bunks,
The history class at the Hewetts where every week was a new adventure, became part of this child.
And the baseball field with hours of friend dough and audiobooks and boredness as a brother practiced, and the fireworks of July, and gummy bears and friends,
And falling in love with Orlando Bloom, and youth group mission trips and home videos and hitting cousins over the head with a box of princess dress-up costumes—all of these things became part of this child.
Late nights, not filled with laughter of friends but with uncertainty and fear became part of this child, as she learned that life is not always fun,
But God found her in these moments and held her, wiping the tears even if she couldn't feel it.
These nights became part of this child.
Procrastination became part of this child: the late nights that turned into early mornings hunched over a laptop writing, and dinners at 10pm and cartons of lactose-free ice cream at 1am.
The constant shows overlapping all the way from September to May, hours of rehearsal and nerves at first kisses,
And trips to New York and first Broadway shows and too many M&Ms and pigeons everywhere,
And too many games involving “Draw four!” and frustrated yells followed by laughter,
And evenings after dinner on the computer, raging at games with friends that she wanted desperately to feel accepted by
and eventually, she did, and these things became part of this child.
The subtle roasts, not-so-subtle insults, and accidental jokes from those friends became part of this child—things that she will not easily forget, for they have been to her what she didn't know she needed.
And the other group, too: the wholesome ones that she loved in a way she couldn't love those others, that comforted her when stressed or upset and listened when she didn't want anyone else to—they became part of this child.
She discovered a new favorite sound--pointe shoes clacking on the cold marley, and learned to love that noise above all others. That, and the soft panting of dancers as they caught their breath from a fast petit allegro, became music to her ears.
She watched actors onstage through videos (some legal, some not) and realized how much she wanted that--how desperately she needed to be performing,
and she knew suddenly, how much she wanted to make a difference, to be known for doing amazing that could change lives, the way that hers has been changed by this music and community.
It was in these years that she discovered how easy it was to fall in many ways, but that sometimes falling was okay.
And all of this became part of this child.
The child learned that the world is not always nice,
that sometimes people overreact and make others feel bad about themselves for little things.
She learned that contrary to popular belief, opposing viewpoints aren't always bad.
She learned that allies can be found in unlikely places.
She learned that one decision can tear apart people and friendships and countries.
But she found hope in the small things—the deeds of ordinary, everyday people. News of strangers helping strangers and people defending those who couldn't defend themselves.
She was still angry about the injustice that remained, but slowly, maybe, she could see the world getting better.
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who goes now, and will always go forth every day.
you're welcome, nobody asked for that. have an emu.