Anna told me yesterday that she wants to skip straight to fifteen and be in high school. Of course, my heart seized up in my chest at the thought of her in high school, and I told her that wasn't such a good idea.
"Why not?" She asked. "I'm tired of being a kid."
"Oh Anna, don't lose a minute of this time. Don't rush it, and don't try to skip over it. You'll get to fifteen soon enough, I promise."
"But I want to be there now!"
"Oh Boo, do you know what I'd give to be a kid again?"
She doesn't know, of course. And she won't realize it until her childhood is well behind her. Life's not fair that way, but that's how it is.
Summer is coming, the weather is turning gorgeous, and soon everything will be popsicles and swimming pools, sunburn and bare feet. One of the worst, most rotten things about being a grown up is that you usually lose "summer" as defined by a kid. Unless you're a teacher, (and many of them take a second job due to the pay scale), you're working during the summer. No more three months of freedom, burning your feet on hot sidewalks or riding your bike till your legs ache. Its times like this, when the weather warms up, that I miss my childhood most.
I have many great childhood memories, but to narrow it down to three (for readability sake), I'd have to pick:
Hiking with my Dad - he loved the outdoors and we hiked almost every weekend. My hometown in New Mexico is surrounded by mountains, so there was never a shortage of trails. A few times a year, we'd take a road trip to Carlsbad Caverns (some of the biggest caves on earth). It’s magnificent, and if you ever get a chance you need to go.
On Saturday nights when I was growing up, after my bath (so I'd be fresh for church in the morning, of course), my Mom would pop a big pan of popcorn on the stove and we'd all watch Star Trek (dating myself here, but yes, "classic" Star Trek) together. I used to toss popcorn in the air and catch it in my mouth - my record was 41 straight without a drop. Anna and I now have contests with popcorn catching on our "movie nights". I’m still the reigning champ!
I remember riding my bike all over, everywhere. In the summer (or on weekends), I'd leave the house around 10am and my Mom usually wouldn't see me back till it was getting dark. Sometimes I'd pop in for lunch, but right back out again, riding with the wind in my hair, visiting friends, walking around the local five and dime - and if it was really hot sometimes I'd go to the town library and just sit and read in the air conditioning. I loved that bike - it was independence for me.
And I’d give just about anything to have a day of that back to enjoy again.
Don’t rush it, Anna. I tell her. Savor it. Savor it all.
What are your three favorite childhood memories?