July 4, 2008

Independence Day?

I read this NY Times blog entry about letting go of childhood and cried. Then I read the comments and cried. Kind of weird because all those words were written by a bunch of mothers who were lamenting that their children had grown up and gone away and that part of their life was over.

I still get nostalgic in the summers for my childhood. It was so wonderful to read or play the piano all day or go swimming or even work on the farm. The grass was greener and the sky was bluer and the air was warm and the world did seem magical. In August, our family would pile into the Suburban and drive up to the mountains and stay at the Storybook Cabins in the forest. I remember being fascinated at all the pines that lined the winding roads. It was so strange to be surrounded by earth and trees, unable to see miles into the distance as I could at home. Daddy probably remembers that, too, because one time around a sharp turn on a mountain road we hit a wild turkey and smashed the windshield. All of us children were small. Mom dressed us in matching shirts and jeans. The pictures are cute. We didn't complain about leaving our friends behind or missing work or some event at home. We looked out the car windows during the drive; we didn't have laptops or cell phones in front of our faces.

Cousins would come for a visit. I would sit on the window seat and stare east down the road, looking for their family car to come into view. I was supposed to be dusting, but I would steal away to search out the window every few minutes. Granddaddy and Grandmother often invited us to dinner. We kids rode our bikes over, and Mom and Dad walked. Granddaddy would grill hamburgers that were always delicious. Grandmother would butter hamburger buns and put them in the oven so they'd be nicely toasted. We ate on the porch seated around the green picnic table. I liked to eat Cheetos with my hamburger. Then we would have homemade banana nut ice cream for dessert, with pecans from Granddaddy's trees. The sky would be dark, but Katie would circle the house on her bike riding as fast as she could. We'd race our bikes home, smashing Junebugs or dodging frogs all the way. I've been missing my grandmother lately, wishing I could tell her about some recipe I'd made or a funny story about my piano students or about my sweetheart.

I remember being sad and crying in the months leading up to Wendy moving away to go to college. I was so sad that the phase of life where we all lived in one place was ending. Of course most things can't stay the same. It's a good thing that we're all getting older - it beats the alternative - and doing new things. When I was a child, I thought that my parents walked on water and that my family was perfect, and I still do.

Family at Yangmingshan Park, Taiwan

1 comment:

Auntie said...

Awwwwww, now I'm crying. Just read your post. Lovely. How fortunate that our family has you. Thanks for stirring up some good memories.