Posts Tagged With: childhood

 
 

The Things You Learn Whether You Know You’re Learning Them or Not

It’s Gratituesday! I’ve thought this one over for a while. I’m grateful to my parents for teaching me some cool stuff.

For instance, Mom taught me to sew as a little bitty thing. I remember sewing little drawstring bags and carrying my treasures in them. Not sure what had more value, the bag or the things in the bag. I’ve since sewn a few thousand things. I’ve made  quilts, baby blankets, skirts, dresses, shirts from scraps, pillowcases and a zillion other projects. I’ve hemmed countless pants and dresses, and altered clothing beyond imagining. I even made a living for a while using my sewing skills. How about that?

By Dongui (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By Dongui (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mom also taught me the basics of playing the piano. Then Dad and Mom both put up with listening to me crank out bad versions of pop songs and classical music. And Dad, he paid for lessons from Mrs. Kump, since they  thought I’d learn better from a different teacher for a while. I’ve played for a zillion different things and have even segued into playing the organ occasionally, which rocks, in case you’ve ever wondered. Of course, this lead naturally to a love of all these musical.

Mom sang in a music group and I learned to sing alto by listening to her practice as well as by sitting next to her while we sang hymns in church.

Dad instilled a love of all things gardening and growing. I still recall his engineering quality maps of our yard with every single plant mapped out in amazing detail. I loved getting my hands in the dirt, watching the veggies grown, picking fresh raspberries, mowing the lawn. I still prefer doing yard work to house work, even in Arizona.

They also taught me, indirectly, the satisfaction that comes from serving others. I learned, without words, that you stay and help clean up after an event. By example they let me see and feel the joy of helping others whether by bringing in a meal, helping shovel a neighbor’s driveway or listening to someone’s worries with genuine concern. Some of my happiest memories link to volunteer work, freely giving of my time and being available to share my talents just like I saw them do so often in my childhood.

Photo By Joe Tordiff [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By Joe Tordiff [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Both Dad and Mom gave me experiences that brought me to love the outdoors. As a family we went on hikes, motorbike rides, sledding, camping, horseback rides, trips to Yellowstone and Grand Canyon and countless other state and national parks. We got out on snowmobiles and hung out in a canoe fishing. We build snowmen like no one else could. We had an epic treehouse that Dad designed and built complete with a sandbox, both of which fueled out imaginations. We spent tons of time in the mountains, which feel like a second home to me.

Mom taught me the basics of canning and preserving food. We used to make the yummiest apricot fruit leather this side of anywhere! I still get kind of puckery in my cheeks remembering that sweet/sour taste. Her pickled beets are the bomb. And no one, and I mean nobody anywhere, makes raspberry freezer jam like my mom does. I’ve tried and mine’s only a close second.

I learned to laugh from both Mom and Dad. Raising all of us kids wasn’t easy, to put it mildly, so to hear them laugh out loud was a treat. Their laughter dispelled some of the tension that inevitably snuck into family life and always reminded me that recreation and relaxation and daily laughter help balance out the tough times.

Photo By dave_7 from Lethbridge, Canada (VW Van) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By dave_7 from Lethbridge, Canada (VW Van) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons (Not the one I actually drove.)

I know how to drive a stick shift! How many people do you know can drive a vehicle with a manual transmission nowadays? I learned to drive on hills in a dual wheel converted flatbed truck as well as in a VW van. Because of that, driving the largest rental moving van across the country wasn’t all that intimidating a few years later.

I love to read and learn new things. I got that from both of them. That right there is probably key to all the rest of the stuff they taught me. And even now, they’re still learning new tricks, as Dad likes to call it. I hope I’m still soaking in the knowledge when i reach my grownup years like them.

These few things I learned from Dad and Mom have bounced around my head lately. I’m sure grateful to have learned so much. I think I turned out okay, so far at least. They must have done a good job.

P.S.

I’d still like to learn how to whistle like Dad does. Maybe this summer he can teach me.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments
 
 

What A Card!

Friday Letter to My Kids – February 27, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

So I’ve been slowly sorting through some of those boxes of papers I told you about. It’s like watching a glacier move. Oy vey!

But I’ve run across some real gems among the odd pieces of paper I can’t for the life of me figure out why I still have in my possession. Old church bulletins, receipts from ten years ago, to do lists with half the items scratched off, envelopes with nothing in them, bills from forever ago. Sadly there have even been some grocery ads in the piles.

I shake my head at myself.

But that’s beside the point. The point today is I found treasures among the flotsam!

I’m talking about treasures like this card from Big L. It so perfectly captures the essence of our family life then and now.

Boy, that's an understatement!

Boy, that’s an understatement!

What it says inside is even more priceless.

Which reminded me of other cards you all have gifted Dad and I over the years. Like this one on Dad’s desk, which gets funnier considering the non-scruffy awesome dude Little J ended up with.

Princess Leia rocks!

Princess Leia rocks!

And this one from just last year that I seriously want to frame. Sparkly orange and practically daring me to feel happy, its message has brightened the kitchen and my days for a while now.

Bringing it!

Bringing it!

And this reminder from Little L that in spite of all the weirdness of life we should still dance, love, sing and live with abandon and joy.

Good advice!

Good advice!

I think this card from Big J to Dad captures what family life often felt like for each of you, especially as we moved around so much and finances were rollercoasterish.

Close to the truth, sort of.

Close to the truth, sort of.

Closer, still.

Closer, still.

Getting this postcard in the mail from Switzerland made my day, as did seeing it again recently! I loved that you had that chance, Little J, to explore Europe with nothing but a backpack, a friend and courage. That you made that dream happen in real life, not just once, but twice, makes it even better!

Aw…Switzerland!

Aw…Switzerland!

I know I can’t keep every greeting card from every celebration. But there’s definitely some worth saving. I’m thinking I need a binder just for the best of those cards. They capture funny moments and sweet reminders. You never know when a card you pick out will brighten someone’s day beyond the day it’s meant for. These sure have added light to mine.

You each bring light to my life regularly, often through some remembrance of a time with one of you, a conversation, an event, jumps to the front of my thoughts and briefly I relive the joy, the angst, the laughter, the strangeness, the us of that moment. It gives today perspective and depth and light. You each have, and still do, bring me joy. Exponential joy!! Thank you for that. I’m pretty sure no card exists that expresses quite what I feel toward the four of you.

I look forward to all the future moments we share, whether in person, or through a card, an email, text, Facebook, private message, phone call or Skype. I love seeing your lives opening out and becoming what they are.

All my love,

Mom

~~~~~

Love from Mom

Love from Mom

“What a card” = a phrase meaning an amusing or eccentric person

Categories: Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Inner Tubes and Snowy Hills: Or How I Survived Childhood Winters and Lived then to Learn to Ski

“Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face.”  ~Dave Barry

Photo by MHBowden

Photo by MHBowden

I grew up practically on a mountain, with snow five feet deep in our front yard every winter. (Except for that one inversion year when nothing but fog accumulated.) On the other side of the mountain lived a ski resort. A tiny one, but a place to ski nonetheless. The closest I ever came to skiing as a child or a teen involved black rubber inner tubes, defective ones apparently, because they always inflated lopsided.

Have you ever ridden an inner tube down the side of a mountain on the snow? If not, I have just given you a perfect bucket list item. You might want to save it as the very last item on your bucket list, though, as possibility of severe injury seems rather high.

On an inner tube you have absolutely no control over where you go, how fast you go or if/when you stop. (Why does it feel like I just described life? Hmmm.) The most likely outcome involves bodies splayed across the snow or wedged against objects or perched atop bushes and rocks with the inner tube still rocketing off into the distance another half mile or so. (Life metaphor again? Weird.)

Death Spiral

Photo by Iain Laurence

Photo by Iain Laurence

The advantage of having to hike so far to retrieve the inner tube comes in the contemplative time one has to reconsider the wisdom of perching atop the tube once more for another possibly life threatening ride to infinity and beyond. Unfortunately, screams of joy and terror, (which sound eerily alike to a youngster) push all logic and sanity out of ones frozen head and you find yourself yelling “COWABUNGA” as you leap on  the tube and launch yourself once more into a death spiral of epic proportions.

For that extra measure of danger we often careened in the dark, which added a sense of insanity to an already thrilling adventure. Surprisingly I and my siblings survived many winters participating in this sport.  Oddly, tubing hasn’t risen to the stature of an Olympic event yet. I suppose scoring could present a problem. Highest points for furthest launch from a tube? Extra points for landing in a tree? Bonus points for spinning more than ten times on the way down? It ought to rank in the X-games at least.

Back on Topic Now

But I meant to speak of skiing. My first time. Oddly enough riding an inner tube and using a set of skis and poles have frighteningly similar outcomes, especially those first few times down the hill.

Having slippery sticks attached to cement encased feet does not provide one with a sense of security or control. Neither, surprisingly, does having sharp pointy objects in either hand lend a sense of comfort or assurance. In fact, I wondered at first if MSH had grown tired of marriage after only four months of “bliss” and had found an easy way to dispose of me, à la Robert Redford in a mafia. Whoops, there she goes off a cliff. “I told her not to go down that black diamond run, but she insisted.”

Nah. MSH just wanted to share something he loved with the love of his life. Little did he know what an adventure he’d signed up for. (Life metaphor again?)

Evil Trees

Much like tubing down a snow-covered hill, my most vivid memory of my first day skiing involved a people-eating tree and my limbs hopelessly entangled in the branches of said tree. One leg pointed north while the other leg seemed wedged more south-southeast. Meanwhile one ski pointed down. The other ski had somehow become one with the snow. The poles, miraculously, didn’t shishkabob me, for which I was ever so thankful.

I tried my best to untangle and disengage to no avail. MSH “helped” by explaining which leg to move where, which didn’t help at all since I’d lost most feeling in my legs and couldn’t identify left from right. If I recall correctly I threw my poles his general direction along with a few select words, which I won’t share here. He finally helped by physically moving one of the skis. Once both legs aimed approximately in the same direction, after five minutes of struggle I managed to reach an upright position.

I think I threw a tantrum after that. Or maybe during that. In no uncertain terms, I let MSH know how unimpressed I felt with this sport of skiing. I also may have mentioned that I’d never, ever participate in such nonsense again.

Chocolate Saves the Day

Photo by By Baileypalblue

Photo by By Baileypalblue

Of course, after some hot chocolate in the lodge, and watching people shoosh and swoosh effortlessly for an hour, and getting bored beyond reason I found myself attempting to hitch a ride on a lift, all skiwampus, with my pride firmly buried in a snowdrift.

I eventually, somewhat mastered the art of something beyond the pie wedge style of beginners. I’m happy to report that as a family we enjoyed some great times on the mountains in the snow over the years.

To this day my son (who learned to ski with no effort whatsoever at age three) still puts himself to sleep at night by imagining snowboarding down his favorite ski run at his favorite resort. He says it’s the most relaxing thing he can think of, as natural as walking but way more fun.

It’s been a few years (a decade?) since I last threatened my poor knees with such reckless behavior as skiing. All for the best I’m sure. I’m satisfied to have the occasional falling dream and waking to memories of my youth careening down the side of a mountain on a black inner tube.

Ah. Those were the days.

Photo by Dbenbenn

Photo by Dbenbenn

~~~

There are really only three things to learn in skiing:  how to put on your skis, how to slide downhill, and how to walk along the hospital corridor.  ~Lord Mancroft

Categories: Fun, Humor, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child Circa the 1960’s

By Noël Zia Lee (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Noël Zia Lee (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Do you remember how exciting December was when you were six or seven years old? Not quite old enough to stop believing in Santa, and still young enough to take in the fun, food and crazy excitement in the air. No pressures, just sheer anticipation and a long month of counting down ‘how many days left until school let out for the holidays.’

I loved going down town in our little city and walking the slushy sidewalks, seeing and hearing the bell ringers on the street corners, peeking in the windows of the shops. My feet still remember that sudden whoosh of surprise at catching an extra sloshy pile of snow and having it slip inside my shoe. I’d stand at the corner, my gloved hand in Mom’s, stamping my foot while waiting for the police officer with his whistle to make certain the road was clear before we crossed the street. I loved the crowds of people, the decorated light poles, the bustle of it all.

The Five and Dime store held my interest even more than the candy counter and the elevator at the department store during that time of year. Slowly making my way down each aisle I’d look at all the treasures I could possibly buy to give as gifts to my siblings and parents. I imagined their surprise at opening up a wrapped package with such wonders tucked inside. I pictured their happy faces and knew I’d absolutely have to buy this item or that trinket. At least, until I happened upon the next perfect gift. Choosing among such possibilities seemed beyond my abilities at such a young age. Back then I think I’m certain that price held little meaning and the decision process probably involved my mother ruling out the overpriced items.

Occasionally I’d see some toy that spoke to my soul. I knew I’d stumbled on the gift that surely Santa would leave for me under the tree. I didn’t always tell Mom about it, though, since I didn’t recognize her important role in making certain Santa knew what I dreamed of receiving.

By Dough4872 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Dough4872 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We’d also make a separate trek downtown with the entire family to visit the Christmas Village with those traditional lighted walkways and glittering trees. It seemed as though nothing ever changed; the same lights and displays in the same place each year lent continuity and stability to my young life. And, of course, it seemed we always picked the coldest night of the year for this endeavor, for no amount of bundling kept me warm enough. Fortunately hot chocolate waited for us in a thermos in the car and sleep usually overtook me on the drive back home. Is there anything to compare with being carried inside from the car to the bed, sleep barely nudged by the removing of boots and gloves and coat? I think not. I felt so very loved in that act.

I also recall walking door to door with a small group of neighbors, carrying plates of goodies and decorated boxes filled with fruit and treats. We’d stop at the homes of mostly widows and elderly people. We’d sing some Christmas carols, with me mangling the words as I tried my best to sing along. As we’d leave each house we’d belt out “we WISH you a merry Christmas” which I knew well and could sing loudly and with confidence. I don’t recall feeling particularly cold, in spite of trudging through snow, while singing and treating. I think being in a group kept me warm, but it could have been some warmth within from the joy of it all that kept me toasty.

Dave Hitchborne [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Dave Hitchborne [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On Christmas eve we’d ask Dad (since he had the biggest foot size) if we could borrow one of his socks to set out for Santa to fill. We didn’t have a fireplace, so we set them on the floor next to the furnace knowing full well that we’d find an orange, some nuts and some candy plumping up each sock.

I’m sure I’m idealizing what I remember. But isn’t that what we do with our childhood?

Or maybe, just maybe, I’m remembering it all exactly as I experienced it. After all, I didn’t have glasses yet and the world still came across as a bit hazy and foggy. My focus, being nearsighted, always zeroed in on nearby and up close things. The rest of the world melted to the background while I lived in a bubble. What a wonderful world, too!

I like to imagine I could put all those memories in a sort of snow globe that I shake up several times during the month of December. The flakes fall around that idyllic distant scene and I look on with child-like yearning for a Christmas long past.

Categories: Holidays | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A Few Precious Years of Laughter

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m thankful for the sweetness of elementary school-aged children. In many of them there still abides an innocence and freshness to their view of the world. I heard two jokes today from a friend’s daughter that reminded me of that precious time of life.

Giving credit where credit is due, these jokes came from the mouth of Kyrsten and brought a lightness to my heart and a smile to my face.

“Why did the football stadium get so hot when the game was over? 

-Because all the fans walked out!”

Kawasaki-Electric Fan

Kawasaki-Electric Fan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love the image of hundreds of spinning fans wobbling out of a stadium chatting about the game.  Don’t you?

Then there was this one:

“Why can’t banks keep any secrets?

– because there are so many tellers.”

Old bank building

Old bank building (Photo credit: Mr Wabu)

Ten years old, bright with a sense of humor that finds delight in simple, clean word play.There’s no guile, no manipulation, no hidden agenda. How wonderful those few precious years of newness and wonder! Reminds me of my own young childhood. How lucky I was to have had that.

Reminders that such a unsullied view of the world still exists make my heart grateful and give me hope.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Hope, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Was a Wonderful Life!

Yesterday I got the chance to watch the second installment of home 8mm films that my Dad has transferred to DVD. If something like that doesn’t fire up the old neurons of memory, then nothing will!

North Ogden Utah Ben Lomond Peak

Ben Lomond Peak (Photo credit: OwnUtah.Com)

I was the opening shot, well, me and Mom. I looked extra adorable in my frilly bonnet and chubby cheeks. Mom looked stylish as she always did and does. There followed scenes of my older brother in various stages of helping Mom in managing this new little sister he had.

Loved seeing Dad do his famous tricycle riding trick. He’d kneel on the back and pedal with his hands. That’s not an easy feat to pull off, but he could do it with a grin.

Ah, they were so young! The world seemed new and young. Life was new. For me, that is when the world began. (Insert a long, audible sigh here, if you would please.)

I cheered my baby self on when I lifted my head, crawled, walked and fell down. I watched, amazed, as I saw myself grow from a baby to a five-year old in less than twenty minutes. Looking back on my life, sometimes that ‘s about what it feels like. Yet, my childhood had a timeless quality about it that felt as if I’d always be a child. I was protected, provided for, well-loved, and given a wonderfully varied exploratory life filled with fun and adventure.

English:

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A trip or two to Yellowstone National Park was a highlight and a memory I still cherish. The bears ran as freely and as abundantly as chipmunks. Even without the film memory jog, I still remember the fishing bridges there, seeing fish thick in the water. Nothing can erase the memory of the smells of Yellowstone, the sound of footsteps on the wooden walkways, the feel of my hand in Mom’s hand.

I watched as we enjoyed breakfast picnics in the mountains, trips to Bear Lake, camping trips, hikes up Ben Lomond. What child could ask for more? Not me. I was happily allowed to explore my world, taken out and about often to see the wonders that this life has to offer. I think I fell in love with it all at a very early age because of exposure to so much abundance. I haven’t been able to narrow in on one particular favorite. The world is full and rich and I have tried to take in and be a part of as much of it as I have been able to.

see mum, i can garden

(Photo credit: moirabot)

One thing I found particularly fascinating in this DVD that I’d hardly noticed in the first one was the backdrops in each scene. There was the beautiful hexagon shapes in the Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt on the bed my brother and I were playing on. The cars that drove past were classics from the 50’s and 60’s. The television was vintage, the furniture now collector’s items. Even the drinking glasses were particular to that era. What I wouldn’t give to own a set of aluminum colored drinking cups now!  The piano I learned to play on, the one destroyed in my parent’s house fire, made an appearance. Changes in the landscaping of the yard, neighbor’s houses I haven’t seen in decades, the up close view of the mountains that surrounded my childhood home all served as key elements in the background to this trip down memory lane.

Feeling very nostalgic today. Wishing for a time machine to visit those innocent, sweet days of love and learning.

Thanks Dad and Mom for the DVD, for the amazing childhood, for a wonderful life!

Categories: Family, Love, Memory Lane, Nature, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Catching My Shadow

I used to try to catch my shadow doing something different from I was doing.

I’d avert my eyes, pretend interest in something the opposite direction from my shadow. But secretly I was watching at the periphery for suspect movement and unexplained behavior from my flatter self.

shadow on sidewalk

A shadow on the sidewalk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Surely there had to be some independent quality about my shadow. How else to explain its shorter stature at some parts of the day and its odd stretching reach at others. I was too young to understand the correlation between where the sun was in the sky and what my shadow chose to do. To me it was simply a mystery, explained by something I didn’t have the ability to understand yet.

I suppose I was only five or six at the time, although I could have been older.

I was a child that desperately wanted to believe in magic and in happily ever after. I was certain that if I only believed hard enough that I could wriggle my nose just right and a candy bar would appear. I knew if I practiced long enough, holding my arms just so, and blinking my eyes with a nod and a smile that I could travel through space instantly and be somewhere new and unusual. I even figured that if I stared into a mirror long enough I’d see my friends looking back at me.

What I’ve found over the years is that all that is true. It’s just not true in the way I thought it was.

There are explanations for what I and my shadow do, but they can’t usually be explained by magic or by the sun’s movement. There’s usually a deeper reason behind the logic of my choices and the emotions of my day. I may not understand those reasons, but the explanations are there, somewhere hidden in my psyche, my history, my fears and hopes.

Although different from my youthful variety, believing, practicing, trying, studying can all bring about change. A much slower process than I wish it were, results are still tangible and distinct.  Looking back over the shortened span of my past, the changes that have happened really are miraculous and amazing.

Who I am, who I’ve become, isn’t vastly different from the child me. I think the believer in magic is still there, beside me, like my shadow. She is part of who I am. In fact, the magic believer is my shadow.

There are days, weeks, months and years that I move forward in spite of all reality tells me is impossible. I keep moving along the path I set for myself, wishing, hoping, trying, studying, working. Somewhere in all that the magic formula will occur and the transformation will happen. I may not understand it. But I’ll keep on until I do or until I find a more logical, more hopeful, more intriguing path to take.

Yup, me and my shadow, we’ll just keep believing and see what happens next.

Abracadabra!

Categories: Joy, Wondering | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Where is the Grinch When He’s Really Needed?

I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Never have been. Not as a kid, not as a teen, not as an adult. Not even as a married person.

Nope. Not a fan.

It’s one of the areas in my life I’ve decided I’m just going to be cranky and annoyed about.

Sorry to burst your shiny red heart-shaped mylar balloon.

Those valentine mailboxes we decorated in elementary school with such high expectations? Always a letdown. While it seemed every other girl ended up with at least one or two surprises from a secret admirer or best friend, I only got the obligatory stack of valentines.

English: A glass of milk (left) and a glass of...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In fact, there were a couple of years the creepazoid boys that made my school life at recess miserable, took the Valentine’s day opportunity to make certain that I felt despised and pathetic. Boys that age have a talent for rude, mean, despicable behavior. (It might warm your heart to know that by high school I was on friendly terms with most of them. They became slightly human by then somehow.)

There was one year, fifth grade I think, that we had a contest for the best valentine mailbox. My dad helped me with this project and it turned out awesome! He found a tall three or four-foot box about the circumference of a shoebox. We turned it into a clown with a wide-open mouth for the mailbox opening. The crowning glory was a squishy red bulbous squeeze horn. Honk, honk! We took first place of course. The grand prize was a supersized Hershey’s chocolate bar. Sixteen ounces of pure heaven I kept hidden in a drawer in my bedroom and nibbled on for weeks.

That memory right there is the highlight of decades of Valentine’s Day celebrations.

As a married couple we attempted a few Valentine’s dates. We quickly discovered that night of all nights is the worst possible one for a date. Restaurants are overrun and rushed. Movies are packed and noisy. Traffic is silly. Dances are ridiculous. Flowers cost twice as much as normal. Leftover Christmas chocolates are stingily arranged in overpriced heart-shaped boxes. We don’t do Valentine’s. We choose to abstain from all celebrating of this silly holiday. Okay, we might exchange cards. But that’s it.

Sorry, I am the Valentine Grinch. Where is Dr. Seuss when you really need him?

CreativeTools.se - PackshotCreator - 3D printe...

(Photo credit: Creative Tools)

The perfect Valentine’s Day for me is in my own hands. It’s a product of my own making. I bake up a huge batch of buttery heart-shaped sugar cookies. Then I slather them with pink butter cream frosting, showering each one with multicolored sprinkles.  Easy. None of that magazine cover overachieving piped lacy design nonsense.

Pop a few of these cookies into your mouth and life just doesn’t get any better than that. The kids love them, MSH loves them. My friends, if I choose to share, love them.

At this very moment there’s plenty of ice-cold milk in the fridge. Butter and yogurt is out on the counter waiting for me to start mixing up the magic cookie dough.

Cookie heart

Cookie heart (Photo credit: summerbl4ck)

My Grincy valentine heart will soften as I mix and roll and cut and bake. All those old resentments will fade as the butter and powdered sugar and red dye whip together into a frothy cloud of pink deliciousness.

Love is in the air, and it smells like sugar cookies.

Happy Valentine’s Day if you’re a believer. Otherwise, enjoy something freshly baked and revel in every bite.

Categories: Food, Love, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Simply Celebrating Life

It’s Gratituesday!  Today I am thankful for my childhood holidays.  Those special days scattered throughout the year were  anticipated with a tingly, buzz in the air.  Each holiday carried a specific scent and texture that brought joy in its own unique way.  There was an innocence and wonder about each celebration.

childhood memories

childhood memories (Photo credit: brainblogger)

That purity of that experience is two-fold.  Childhood is supposed to be about immediacy, the here and now.  There’s no worrying about a hundred things to do before an event happens.  The countdown to Christmas was all about anticipation and expectation. That’s what I had, the joy of the moment.  What a phenomenal blessing!

Simplicity is the other half of my childhood holiday memories.  Perhaps it was a simpler time.  Maybe I grew up sheltered. Hallelujah!  Every child should be so lucky to live, for a time, in a protective bubble of wonder, curiosity, love and newness.  I had that.

I was blessed beyond measure with Valentine love, Easter hope, Independence Day freedom, Halloween sweets, Thanksgiving gratitude, Christmas joy.

Every child should be so lucky!

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Childhood Revisited: Swinging In From a Star

Today’s post  is a response to this WordPress Daily Post writing prompt.: “What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.”

 

Pressing my face into the mesh of memory, I’ve searched and searched for details from my earliest childhood.  My attempts to peel back the layers, clarify the view and remove the dust and cobwebs find little substance. 

The few memories that surface are vague at best.  I couldn’t tell you how old I was, only where I was, but not when.  It’s as if I’m waiting for movie clips about myself from the outside like an independent observer.  But in reality the only point of view is from the inside looking out.  There aren’t any movie trailers.

Well, there are those 8mm films my parents took.  But that’s a memory of a memory.

There is this one clear, unchanging mental image, my first memory, my first awareness of being. My first experience with me-ness. 

I am walking between my dad and my mom, going up the street towards our little white clapboard house.  Each of them has taken hold of one of my hands. Whether I could walk on my own, I have no idea.  Maybe I was young enough that they were encouraging walking, or I could have been older and needing to be kept in check by the two of them. The world is vague and blotchy, all color and wash. The features of most things have no distinct form or shape. Our house is the only clear landmark.

The sensation of a hand in each of theirs is vivid; warmth and energy pulse into me.  And then, suddenly, I am soaring up and out, secured between them like a swing.  Then I am walking on the ground again.  I hear, “One, two, three!” and I sail out into the air again, safely tethered to them both.

Multiple times they count and launch me heavenward.  Each “three” creates the sensation of my body feeling free and ephemeral, accompanied by gravity’s pull back between them. Whether I spoke the words or merely thought them, my mind says, “again,” after each swing out and back. 

night sky

night sky (Photo credit: dcysurfer / Dave Young)

I remember laughter, mine or theirs.  Both, I’m sure.

I could easily believe a tale of my birth as a launching from heaven, lofted into the cosmos, riding a wave of star dust and gently landing between my father and mother. Caught between the two of them, I scatter dust from my journey as I swing back and forth, back and forth.  It’s a fairy tale worth holding on to. 

My earliest memory of childhood makes it feel as if I came swinging into this world suspended between them, held fast by love and joy.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Love, Memory Lane, parenting, Wondering | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: