Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Childhood Memories

Often I find myself being nostalgic about "when I was a kid".  But, I wasn't a kid for really all that long.     I got married at 18 and now I am 65.   Most of my life has happened after leaving childhood.   It has for most of the people I know.

It's so normal and usual to say "my mom used to" whatever.  But, is that really how it was?   Did she do something once and it stuck with me so I now refer to the one time she did a thing as "always"?

I wonder what my kids remember and how different their memories are from mine.  I often hear their versions of events that I either don't recall at all, or remember totally differently than they do.

In general, I just go along with their version.   Maybe they are right.  Or, maybe, like looking at the same thing from a different angle, their memory is correct from the angle they experienced it.  Not sure about the grammar here.

When we bought our house in Reston in 1983, I felt very strongly about the importance of the kids knowing "home".  When I was a kid and we were a traveling family, I never has a sense of "home".   With our life and all of our moves, I think it was nice to be able to look forward to moving back into a familiar house and home.

It hit me today- we have moved out of the house in Reston many times, but we have always moved back.   This time we have moved out and are not going back.  Someone else is going to call it their home.

Only two of the "kids" have seen and been in the new house.  I am sure all of them have some sort of feelings about their familiar comfortable home being sold.   I think about the house we are in now.  We have enough room for everyone to come home at the same time.  But I have a hard time envisioning what rooms are for which kid and partner. 

I wonder if it will ever happen.  Will all five of the grown up kids ever actually come here at the same time?   I hope so.  But it's not up to me. 

Another thing I think about and try to remember is, how was it with a house full of little people?  I guess they were not all little at the same time.  But they were all living together with us at the same time for at least a few years.  All the meals.  All the groceries.  Noise.   Chaos.   Was there really a time in my life when I couldn't sit down without someone wanting to lean on and touch me? To nurse?   Wow did that all really happen?

I think that is one of the reasons parents want their grown children to have children of their own.  Partly, for sure, so that there will be an appreciation for how hard their own parents (Nick and I) worked.  And also because there is so much amazement and wonder at it all.  All of the exchanged glances between parents sharing a smile at something or other that nobody else could possibly see as magical as the parents. 

I often say I wish that I had been nicer and more forgiving when the kids were little.  I know I got mad and yelled and more.   Yes, I really did lose it sometimes.  But I hope that they remember the good stuff.   The play-dough that we made.  The plastic table cloth on the kitchen table so the kids could paint and cook and play.   The little gardens I tried to grow a few times.   The hugs.   The praise.

I try to remember those things from my own childhood.  I know that they are there.  I do know that my parents loved me.  My father was not able to put it onto words, but I knew somehow.

It's so easy to dwell on the bad stuff of my childhood.  But there was laughter.  There were chocolate chip cookies that my mom would put inside the Dutch oven pan.   My dad looking through magazines with me sitting in his lap.  Letting me comb his hair and polish his shoes.

Ah, life.

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