Well, I have started to clean up the boxes under the stairs and also the ones in the garage I didn't mention previously. One box had some stuff from my school years and also from my early 20s. (By the way, when did my early 20s become early 30s anyhow?) I used to think that I remembered my teenage years and "pre-Jenna" years quite well, but now I see that is not the case.
The boxes mentioned above had all of my yearbooks, a scrapbook, and many letters- mostly from Lori and Todd. It's the letters that really put things in perspective.
There was a large bundle of the tissue-like letters written on air mail paper from Lori's year in Germany. Of course, to help her with German, and to help me with my German, entirely too much of the content of these letters were written auf Deutsch. But I had to laugh at some of the things that weren't. Ah... teenage angst. It's funny how all of the "noteworthy" events and people (some of whom I don't remember) are so miniscule in the grand scheme of things. There was one letter where I think Lori might have feared losing touch as she gently reprimanded me for not writing for too long a lapse of time. She insisted that every small detail of every small day be reported. It kind of made me sad.
The next bundle of letters kind of made me happy. They included all of the letters and cards Todd wrote during our first few years together. Reading them again was an enormously vindicating experience. For the past two months, I have been dwelling on whether there was something between us that was ever worth saving and at what point should I have recognized the need for saving it. See, I have been thinking, rather guiltily, that (children aside, of course) we never should have made it far past high-school, if ever past friends in the first place. I've been feeling like I tried too hard to gloss over our incompatibilities because I didn't want to fail. But there must have been something between us, right?
Yes! Reading the letters reminded me that there was, once, something special between us. We were quite crazy about one another, and I had forgotten all about it amidst so many years of trouble. In the letters, I saw a glimpse of the man I thought Todd would become. But he didn't. He was very devoted and invested in me at one time, and I was able to see when that started tapering off. Perhaps it was around the same time that he started to see that I wasn't becoming the woman he thought I would. It doesn't really matter.
Right now, I just feel good knowing that we had something at one time and that I didn't make any mistakes either in staying with him as long as I did or in separating when we did. As a young woman, I had a different vision of my future with him than reality held. I'm lucky I'm still young and have time to experience another future.
So, the letters serve as documentation of the two most important relationships I've had in my life. It's kind of hard to put into words, but where one relationship was destined to fail, I am assured that the other will be around... well, forever.