Today, my __th birthday, I spent some time reflecting back on my childhood. Remembering birthdays, Saturdays, summers, Christmases.
I miss my childhood.
I grew up on a farm in southern New Mexico. Cotton, alfalfa, yellow onions. In general, I still prefer yellow onions to white, purple or sweet, to this day. My dad worked long and hard every single day to coax the land to grow and sustain the crops. I spent my days running through those fields, the sandy soft dirt cushioning my constantly bare feet. My siblings and I would play on the farm equipment – so very against the rules, but so fun. Of course, later I realized my mom knew all about that…
I miss being carefree, the way young children know how to be. Not that I didn’t have duties and chores, that’s not what I mean. I mean being free to just be, to play, run, fall down and jump right back up again and keep on running. To not have my mind full of burdens and my heart full of scars.
I miss the time when I broke both arms at the same time when I was seven years old. (You heard me.) I fell off the monkey bars at school and SNAP! Both wrists. I had plaster casts on my arms for weeks. After they stopped hurting, it was a kick! My class went to see a play, Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen, and afterward the entire cast, no pun intended, signed my casts. I played piano in those days, and just before Christmas I even played in a recital, playing a duet with one of my sisters. Those casts would clunk against the edge of the wood under the keys with every note I played. The audience was laughing out loud by the time we finished and my sister and I had the biggest smiles on our faces. We got quite an ovation! That memory remains as fresh in my mind now as the day it happened. I wouldn’t give up that experience for anything.
I miss those great big band-aids my mom would haul out and stick to my skinned knees after painting them with “monkey blood” (Mercurochrome). I guess I miss the skinned knees, too. They meant that I was out having fun and being carefree. Well, at least up until I skinned my knee! I still have a black scar on my left knee where I tripped and fell on a newly asphalted parking lot one day when I went to class with my mom. She had returned to college and I got a kick out of going with her sometimes. That day, I was wearing an orange jumpsuit that had little flowers all over it, and a white zipper with a big round pull ring. (Hey, it was the 70’s.) I was more upset that the fall ripped a hole in my favorite jumpsuit than I was about the skinned knee.
I wonder why I got a kick out of going to class with my mom – I certainly never liked going to MY classes. Hmm.
I’m striving to find that carefree feeling again, and maybe, just maybe, some of the weight of my burdens and some of the scars on my heart will feel a little less heavy.