There are times when I'm suddenly struck with an odd feeling of emptiness. The absence of something or someone that once was is keenly felt and though the space has been vacant for some time, only now do I realize the loss. Only now do I feel appreciation for what was and miss that which can no longer be.
I miss being a kid.
There are certain things that just come with the territory of being a kid. Extravagant forts, playing in the mud, sleep-overs on the trampoline, laying in the grass & finding shapes in the clouds. Things you did because school, chores, and homework were finished. Because Mom turned off the TV. Because you had a big imagination. And by you I mean me. Random ideas would pop into our heads and my siblings and I would say, "That sounds fun!" then promptly run off and put our plan into action. We didn't wait to think every detail through before starting. We didn't look at a calendar to see when we could afford to squeeze the fun in later that week. We simply acted, right then. I miss that. I miss being so impulsive. I miss sleeping on the trampoline. I miss getting dirty and not thinking twice about it. I miss taking the time to enjoy life. There are many reasons that form my desire for children. Having a good excuse to play is one of them. When my kids are going crazy with a hose, I want to be there. When their bodies are plastered with mud and smiles, I hope mine is too. When I find them awake after bedtime laughing and having a pillow fight, I hope I join them. And when their dad builds them a tree-house, it better be big enough for me.
Make-believe, one of my favorite past-times as a little girl. I was different than a lot of other kids in that I tried to create the most tangible world I could. While other children playing cowboys and Indians were satisfied with a feather in their hair and a toy gun, I played outside with separate camps at either end of the yard. The Indians would have tepees of sheets wrapped around trees, stuffed animals scattered around, gathered sticks and string for bows and arrows, faces would be painted. The cowboys would wear button up shirts, hats and had forts built out of various scrap wood we found. Out of my many make-believe worlds, the one I visited most often was pretending to be a grown-up, doing grown-up things. My mom's checkbook was fascinating and it was magic when she would sign her name and hand it to the clerk of the grocery store. My cousin Lora had a playhouse her dad built for her with two rooms, a shingled roof, and curtains in the windows. I was so envious of Lora. Having a house of my own was my strongest childhood desire (it's transformed into an adult desire now). I never did get one, but that didn't stop me from pretending I was a mommy paying the bills or changing a diaper. I sent my brother Bryce to work while I cleaned the house. A plastic hot dog and mashed potatoes would be waiting for him when he returned. As a child I couldn't wait to be a big girl with big girl responsibilities and now that it's happened and I'm there . . . . well, let's just say that pretending to be an adult is much more glamorous than actually being one.
I LOVE vacations. I think most people do. Of the many reasons to love them, I believe the one that tops my list is that a vacation is the closest I come to carefree adventure. Notice I say close to carefree. I don't feel that any responsible adult can be truly carefree, especially poor starving college students trying to eck out a living. Sure we can relax and leave worries at home, but there is still a level of awareness of funds, gas, food, lodging, etc. Unlike a child, who's mind never ventures to those areas. There is always enough money, always enough gas, always enough food, always a place to sleep and when there's not, a child doesn't feel the loss, at least not at that time. Maybe when they're older and the world as it really is comes into focus. Childhood is filled with make-believe, learning, games, discovery, but not worries. A child doesn't ponder on tomorrow, unless it's Christmas or the first day of school. A child doesn't notice the passing of time. Childhood is truly carefree. I miss that.
My parents used to know EVERYTHING and while now they're still extremely knowledgeable, they don't have all the answers. My woes, worries, and wonderings aren't wiped away as cleanly as they used to be, if they're wiped away at all. I'm sure that has something to do with the fact that my trials and challenges have entered an entirely different sphere than that of a 8 year old. The biggest issues my parents had to deal with then were Why are there ugly cockroaches? (I still wonder about that) When will Christmas be here? Bryce is bugging me again! Mom and Dad could handle those. They're much more uncertain on what investments Gary and I should make or why I'm not pregnant. The easy answers are gone, the comfort and security incomplete. It's part of being an adult, I know, never having an absolute knowledge of the why, how, and when. Even though my mom and dad have never actually wielded an all-knowing mind, I miss feeling like they did. I miss saying, "My dad is smarter than your dad."
I miss being a kid.
What do you miss?