As we were out walking last weekend – my little family and I – lucky to be all bundled and padded, my girl let out her primal shriek of I HAVE BOOGIES! Which means I scramble to find something to wipe with, most times a kleenex or a burp cloth but today we were winging it and I had brought nothing with us.
As all parents and caretakers know, you improvise.
My gloves are soft. So I used them to wipe her little nose. But when I looked closer, I realized I was wiping my daughter’s nose with cigarette burned gloves. Black and with holes, yet the stale smell of smoke is now long gone (though I smell the phantom smell always).
For some reason this tickled me beyond belief. My husband didn’t quite get my glee as I told him, but I knew what it meant.
I quit smoking a few years ago when we are trying to get knocked up with the devil science and I miss it every day. But I’m not going back to it.
Having said that, I GOT YOU. You who smoke or who are not ready to quit yet or are struggling (I STRUGGLE DAILY), you know I GOT YOU.
I think I will forever think of myself as a smoker who isn’t smoking. As a drinker who isn’t drinking. As a mama who cannot have kids. And that’s just fine. Reminders.
I went back through my photos because I knew I had this picture. It was taken outside our old apartment in the alley where I smoked. Where I made great lifelong friends with Dumpster Squirrel I, II and III. I remember. I remember the joys and the heartaches and the laughter and the crying that happened out on that smoking step in that alley. I remember that snow because I love snow so much that I made out with it. OH WHAT. But really. Those gloves were there and were holding a cigarette in the other hand, I’m sure of it.
I still have these red gloves. Soft and warm and well loved. Let’s face it, it’s kind of a miracle they haven’t been lost through the last several years. I tend to anthropomorphize clothing and things to the point of absurdity, however, when you’ve lived a few lifetimes and just a handful of items actually made it through, you cherish them. You talk about them as if they are old friends. Remember my backpack? Remember those earrings? Treasures simply because they made it through and are part of the story now. Same with these gloves. Same with you and me.
I remember the smell. I remember the burning smell. I remember being mad that I burned them when it happened, but now? Now I’m glad I have something to remember.
Do you think we could market these suckers? Because they make me inordinately happy. Maybe on Etsy or something? I would happily smoke the cigarettes to make them authentic (I AM KIDDING).
I get a kick from re-purposing from my old life to my new life. I keep my past close so I don’t repeat it. I don’t act as if it never happened – I use it to help others, including myself. It’s really quite something when the past and present intertwine in the most unlikely ways. These gloves and my kids. Together. I am still the same person I was back then, I am just evolving all the time. Hopefully.
I like my ciggy burned gloves, black marks and all. Much like you and me. The messy parts give us character. I surely don’t mind a reminder now and then.
Gratitude comes from the most unlikely sources.
It’s good to remember. See also:
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