Welp, the hackers got to me. They deleted my Instagram account and left me feeling a little bit like I had been robbed. Not to be overly dramatic, of course. But there were 3000+ little tiles from those days of living overseas, to my girls dancing in their princess dresses. The memories themselves are still there, buried deep into my heart and mind, and I should have all of the pictures, it’s just that the memories aren’t nearly as accessible, organized, or easy to get to. Or sharable. And I didn’t give them permission to come delete everything.
How ironic that one night before the JH “jerk hackers” erased my account, my book club friends and I were talking about the addictions of social media and how we want differently for our sons and daughters. But how? How do we make it different when we ourselves can’t look away, stop checking in, feel the need to document, look for an audience to validate how cute our new living room rug is, how charming our kids are (note the cute braids we barked at them to hold still for, and polite manners, please), and someone to get behind our ‘fancy font’ political views?
I felt weird about the hackers, but then I felt at peace about it too. Maybe it’s the push I needed to unplug more? To look up more? Maybe I’ll blog more, even little posts like what a square on Instagram would say.
Friends volunteered to go and screenshot some memories I might miss, or want to see easier, since they could see my posts but I couldn’t. Isn’t that sweet. Take that, hacker jerks. Friends showed up for me. And you know what else? Memories will not stop. And it’s those 3000+ posts that led me to where I am today: in my cleaned-in-the-first-time-in-days kitchen, with a citrus and raspberry candle burning, and a glass of boxed wine from Sam’s.
Here’s to savoring the moment, the real moment. Take a picture if you want, but don’t forget to live it and log it in that filing cabinet way back in your mind, the one where the memories never leave.
A FEW of the many memories I have filed:
– Dreaming, playing, imagining as a child.
– The very, very first time I met Shawn. He was a shy boy in a pearl button shirt and work boots.
– Every single time I’ve traveled somewhere new.
– My parents holding hands. Even if things ended differently for them.
– All the mountains I’ve climbed; literally and figuratively.
– Friends who have done something thoughtful for me.
– Our wedding day. Our honeymoon.
– Driving up a mountain in Bolivia, really top heavy with luggage, and nothing but the edge of a cliff next to us.
– The long, long flight to Guinea (24 hours of travel), stopping off in Brussels, knowing we had no place to stay when we arrived in Guinea, and that we were moving there. I remember feeling homesick for friends, family, and familiarity and we hadn’t even arrived yet.
– I remember waking up in Africa, our first time there, with no return ticket, and feeling an indescribable sense of excitement and adventure. I heard every bird chirping on the other side of the barred window. We had arrived.
– I remember pool days as a kid.
– I remember malaria. I remember the hallucinations, the fear on Shawn’s face, the doctor at my bedside.
– I remember the faces of Conakry; I remember their hospitality.
– Poor, but in-love as a newlywed.
– Moving to Quebec in our car.
– Snow up to the roofline.
– Starting over in Senegal, homeless again.
– Comical (and embarrassing) language blunders as we spoke French and sounded like 3 yr olds at first.
– All the good food I’ve ever eaten.
– Every move. Every adjustment.
– The long wait for a baby.
– The pain of infertility.
– Holidays. The buildup to a holiday.
– The homesickness we felt living overseas during a holiday.
– Friendships. No matter the skin color, culture, background, religion, place of birth, language. If there was laughter and a listening ear, friendships could be born and built.
– Gatherings with families.
– Welcoming new nieces, nephews, brother and sisters-in-law.
– Every needle, appointment, medicine, and failed live embryo transfer.
– Every round of IUI and IVF, and all that went with it.
– Every time we went looking for God.
– Every time God showed up.
– Life’s milestones.
– The news that IVF #4 was successful. The world slowed and I heard nothing, not a sound on the city streets.
– The birth and first few dream-like weeks with our newborn daughter.
– The surprise of a lifetime: baby girl #2 was on her way.
– The birth and first few unforgettable weeks with our 2nd daughter.
– Having two under two.
– Every move, lots of starting over.
– I could go on and on with big and little things I have filed in my mind. Books I’ve read, people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, places I’ve visited, places I’ve lived, conversations at home on the couch, parties on the patio, childhood, raising my family, the heartbreaks, the forgivingness, the ugly and the fantastic, it’s all there. It’s called life.
In the meantime, I have a new Instagram account for if/when I want to share a picture or a memory as it plays out (jenn_deatley). I decided to start a new account because I don’t want the hackers to win. (Not that they care.) I want to move forward as I may, and as I will, putting a few moments on display, but mostly, I’ll be filing these moments and memories away in my mind. A safe, happy place I hope to return to.