Recently my sister and I were going through Dadâ€™s closets. After his passing we both dreaded the chore, and welcomed the memories, various articles of clothing offered.
She swung open a door and pulled out a fleece jacket my husband and I had bought Dad while in Norway. He wore it often, and it still had his scent embedded in the fibers. â€œAw, man,â€ I said, struggling to handle my emotions. I caressed the softness with a finger and quickly got lost in thought.
â€œJust take it,â€ she said. â€œYouâ€™ll be glad you have something of his.â€
With one last touch, I placed the jacket aside to take home. As my sister stepped away to examine another article of clothing, the inside of the closet door caught my attention. A flood of memories hit hard.
Scribbled in various places and at various heights were the â€œgrowth linesâ€ of my childhood. My sisterâ€™s, my brotherâ€™s, and even a nieceâ€™s, height was recorded in wobbly lines on the door. Some were in pencil, some were in ink, and some the bold line of a marker. I recalled how hopeful I would be when Mom decided it was time to see if we had gotten any taller. Standing with my spine stretched as far upwards as possible, she would place the pen on the top of my crown to draw the line into the wood. Iâ€™d step back to view any and all progress.
Coming from a lineage of less than gigantic humans, each half-inch of stature mattered to me. Mom had predicted I would grow to be the same height as sheâ€”five feet, five inchesâ€”but I never quite made it. Five feet, four inches, and I topped out. Mom said it was because I refused to drink my milk and not because her prophecy skills were lacking. I chuckled at the memory and waved my sister over.
â€œWhere am I?â€ she said. We traced the various markings with our fingers and clearly noted her yearly progress. In fact, her last growth-line extended to a higher closet door. A fact she rubbed in as she looked down on me. Show off. Can I help it if she liked milk?
Rediscovering that door made me happy and somewhat wistful. Mom and Dad are gone, but their marks on that door, and on me, are still here. I will have to find other ways to measure my growth and stand tall in my actions. No more pens and pencils. Now, the squiggly lines will be carried on my heart and shown in my character instead of on an old closet door. Somehow, I think they would approve.