Puddle Jumping: Emily Marczak

by | Jun 25, 2023 | The Community Garden | 17 comments

I’m very excited to plant this week’s flower in the Community Garden: a beautiful prose/poem by Emily Marczak called “Puddle Jumping.” Emily sent this poem six days before her wedding when, as she said, she “had been grieving / reflecting on the passage of time and childhood.” I was so touched by the poem, and asked if she wanted to say anything more about her transition into marriage and the connection to childhood. This is what she wrote:

The quote that immediately comes to mind when thinking about my journey transitioning into marriage is, “It happened slowly, then all at once.” The closer I was inching towards my wedding day, the more memories flooded through me from my childhood. Mostly sweet memories with my younger siblings, and memories of my childhood home and hometown.

Although I allowed my strong emotions to make themselves known, there was a big part of me that didn’t want to let go of any of it, that wanted to hold onto the possibility that life could somehow still look like it did then… even though it hasn’t looked like that in many years. Nestled beneath all of the longing and desperation for what was and for what wasn’t, was the Grand Canyon of grief.

Grief for losing my childhood home two weeks after graduating from college.

Grief around missing my siblings’ teenage years when I moved away.

Grief around my parents divorcing when I was 3.

And general grief around the passage of time that I so badly wanted to stop and slow down.

I tried my best to welcome the sadness every time it arrived, which wasn’t easy, and it arrived often!

Eventually, I came to greater acceptance and gratitude for the phase of life that I’m in right now, and felt excitement for what lies ahead.

I don’t know that I’ll ever feel as though I’ve had “enough time” in any stage of life, that might be a lifelong work in progress, but I came to the realization that the memories never go away or die. They live in the fiber of my bones and are carried with me wherever I go.

That’s how “Puddle Jumping” was born; in the vivid recollection of one of my most treasured childhood memories. Knowing that the memories live on, even when that time of my life has ended, gives me a tremendous amount of comfort and courage as I move forward towards marriage (in 5 days!!) and what’s yet to come.

Puddle Jumping

As it rains outside, the wet droplets forming into puddles on the street, I’m reminded of my childhood and puddle jumping with my brother. During a heavy rain, we’d grab our rain jackets and rain boots and run out the patio gate into the outer world. A rainy day was our version of a playground metropolis. Trekking to our favorite puddles and jumping around in them with the biggest smiles plastered on our young faces. At the deepest puddle in the neighborhood, we’d challenge each other on who could sit in the puddle the longest! After an afternoon’s worth of fun, full hearts, and soggy clothes, we’d run home. Tears fill my eyes every time I think of puddle jumping with my brother. Our special bond, our childhood home, our run-down neighborhood that dazzled in our eyes. Those moments in time where things just felt perfect. Life looks very different nowadays but I’m grateful my brother and I are still close. So when it rains outside and I see puddles start to form, I close my eyes and hold onto the memories of sweet, sweet childhood. Of pure bliss shared between my brother and I. In this moment of pause, I’m reminded that the memory will forever be alive in my heart and soul. And I dream of more rain.

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17 Comments

  1. This was absolutely beautiful. I could feel everything you wrote so clearly. Thank you for sharing Emily.

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    • Thank you, Meg! That means so much to me.

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  2. This reminds me of my own delight jumping in puddles in rain and mud as a child. I love the reflection that we can find things to be “perfect” and to “dazzle” as a child – things that might seem completely bland and flawed and “run-down” to an adult/”logical” eye. So beautiful, and a reminder of the beauty in everything. Thank you, Emily! And Sheryl for holding space.

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    • Yay – a fellow childhood puddle jumper! 🙂 I resonate with your reflection so deeply, Jamie, that we tend to see the world with more awe, wonder, and beauty as children and it’s such a good reminder to connect to that more as adults. You’re so right that beauty is everywhere!

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  3. This is a truly beautiful, familiar, and wonderfully heart-breaking reminder that all things come to pass in this gloriously fleeting life! Thank you!

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    • Thank you, Crystal! Yes! What a way to sum it up — (life is) beautiful and heartbreaking.

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  4. Beautiful, comforting in the reflection of my own feelings towards childhood and how my memories tug so strongly at my heart strings.

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    • I’m glad it was comforting, Camilla. I feel the same way knowing that childhood memories are strong for many of us.

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  5. Thank you for sharing Emily! So beautiful – such a gift to have these memories with a sibling. I hope you had a wonderful wedding, true to your heart!

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    • I will most definitely cherish these memories forever. Thank you, Manuela — our wedding day was beautiful, magical, and entirely true to us. The best part was being surrounded by many of our loved ones ❤️

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  6. So many lines in this piece took my breath away. So many lines described my own feelings and to see them written down, by someone else was incredibly comforting. I am so grateful to Sheryl and this community for extending a helping hand to me, over and over again.

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    • Aww, thank you, Laura. It touches my heart to hear you say that. It’s so comforting reading something that resonates on a deep, heart level. I’m eternally grateful to Sheryl and this community as well!

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  7. This is gorgeous, the prose and the explanation. Thank you Emily and Sheryl for sharing this with us!!

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    • Thank you so much, Anne! I appreciate your kind words 🙂

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  8. Emily is my dear, sweet daughter-in-law and my soul daughter. Emily has such a beautiful and loving heart and she’s filled with wisdom beyond her years. Thank you, Sheryl, for sharing Emily’s poem.

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    • How lucky Emily is to have you as a mother-in-law! Sounds like you both struck gold :).

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      • I love you, Dianne! Thank you for seeing me and seeing my heart. We absolutely both struck gold! ❤️ so so grateful.

        Reply

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