Once upon a time, I awakened under green flannel sheets and a quilt, stretching perfectly relaxed limbs, and blinking eyes that held the look of sleep without so much as a dark circle under them. My first thought? My momma’s arms. I seldom remembered the act of getting out of bed, because my destination was so vivid. Walking down a dull hallway full of doors that looked exactly the same, I finally approached the open end, which took me to the kitchen table and almost immediately into the same arms I’d awakened with the intent of filling up.
My sweet mother embraced me warmly. I could lay my head--full of messy, unattended hair--onto her chest, without a second thought. I could smell her coffee wafting through the air, and feel the warmth as she swallowed each drink. Sometimes, daddy would be sitting across the table, talking to her; about what, I had not a clue. Their voices soothed something deep inside of me--something that, as a child, I took for granted. Looking back, I wish I could have bottled that something up and saved it for an older me, who forgets what it feels like to experience things with such instinctive purity and freshness.
- Laying sideways on the carpet, holding a lidded, plastic cup full of milked down, decaf coffee, with an ice cube... swishing it around, until I could no longer hear it clink against the side, then taking a sip of its rich goodness.
- Watching intently, as the television lit up our living room. Revisiting my favorite mice, kittens, rabbits, or good old Winnie the Pooh--dreaming up worlds in which I was a part of their lives, as well as they a part of mine.
- Singing so loud, completely unaware of what I sounded like; unaware that this kind of unabashed expression would someday be more difficult to obtain.
- Cradling doll after doll; each and every one named the simple, whimsical name, Alice. Telling them about my plans for the day, which consisted almost exclusively of frivolities, like “dancing”, and “taking a nap”.
I can’t go back.
No matter how deeply nostalgia draws me back into those days, I can never go back.
Yet, in some way, I still live vicariously through every child that surrounds me. Every time Harrison approaches with the sole intention of bestowing a perfect kiss on my cheek, I am blessed with a taste of childhood. Each time I see a child rolling lazily around on the carpet, I feel their perfect ease emanating from the surrounding spaces, seeping into my melting heart.
How do I keep these emotions at bay?
Honestly, I don’t try. Because, I fully believe that once I reach heaven’s golden fields and eternal bliss, I will feel all of these perfect beauties again, with greater peace, happiness, and vividness than I ever have before.
So, in a way, I’m looking ahead...
What are some of your greatest childhood memories? Are they specific, or more abstract?