Many moons ago, when I was a little girl (much littler than I am now ;), our family had quite the different feel to it. See, my Nana didn't work...and so we grandkids (my brother Tyler and I) were doted upon like crazy. And our "cousins" Stephanie, Becky, and Adam (they weren't technical cousins) were always around as our playmates.
They'd constantly be at my Nan's house to peel corn and snap beans with us in the summer, which sounds boring, but really isn't :) Nan had a treehouse in the back corner of her yard, and a fort right across from it; The boys of course, would always be in the fort...and if my memory is correct, it was because I was too terrified to climb the very high ladder to get up into it ;) I do remember one time where Tyler and Adam told me that ants tasted like chicken, and they got me to eat one. Good times, good times ;)
We'd often go to this candy store where all the candy you can imagine is gathered into this tiny little building...just thinking back on it now, I can smell the mixture of fruity, chocolatey, tangy, sweet candies all swirled into one delightful smell that filled the air inside and outside the shop. My Nan would let us all fill up a bag with whatever we wanted, and then we'd start picking at it in the car ride on our way to the most fantastic playground ever. Well, if you're small enough to play on it, of course ;) It was like a little castle...with arched doorways, and towers, and hidden passages, and all the loveliness a little girl can imagine! We kids would chase each other all over and play hide and seek and other fun little games! It was fabulous!
My Aunt Deb (Adam, Becky, and Steph's mom) and I were talking tonight about how we're supposed to get a ton of snow overnight, and how it'll be a great snow playday for my little siblings tomorrow...and I was suddenly hit with the memory of sledriding at her house. See, they have this crazy steep hill that leads down to their backyard, and my Nan used to take us over to sledride once there was enough snow, and we kids would all take our turns going down the treacherous hill. It was so fun. I actually remember begging to go over every winter once it'd start snowing! I haven't thought about those times in literally years...it's been so long.
Things have changed so drastically. Right at the time my Nan got a job as an assistant manager at a bookstore nearby, everyone started getting older (too old to have play dates). Babies were born. Candy store visits and sledriding days gradually disappeared as life went on.
Even more than that, as the years went by, and the 7 new grandkids came along, Steph got married, Tyler got married, Becky's now engaged, and 3 years ago this June, we lost Adam in a car accident.
I just now had this moment where I felt like Jo March, saying "Will we never all be together again?"
Life flies by so quickly. There are so many little moments I wish I could remember more clearly. I had a beautiful childhood, sparkling with laughter and smiles. Late night trampoline star gazing. Rainy days spent with Nan watching Remember the Titans :) Spending every day of the summer outside instead of in. When my brother was my best friend, and nothing could break our big giant extended family apart. I love my family more than anything...but so much about it has changed so drastically since I was a little girl. Joy has been lost, harsh words exchanged, yet when needed, we're all here. But I miss those days. Those days when my parents were younger and more outgoing. When my Nana didn't work. When us kids saw each other constantly. I feel like my little siblings and little cousins are missing out on so much.
I realize that maybe I was a spoiled little kid ;) But I know that someday, when I have my own kids...I want to make their young years in life so amazingly special that they'll look back on them like I do now and say, "Wow...we had a beautiful childhood." But I don't want it to stop there. I want it to be a beautiful childhood, beautiful teen years, beautiful everything. Now does that mean that every day is lollipops and sunshine? Of course not! I mean, hello, they will be my kids. I cut up our couch once when I was like, 7, because I was mad at my mom. For taking scissors out of my room. *cough*. Okay, not something I'm proud of, but still. The point is that I'm sure my kids will have their moments of not-so-pretty. But that's okay. Don't we all? At the end of the day, I want to give them experiences that will stay with them, and moments that will always be in their heart...even if they're only remembered every 5 years or so.
Single, 18 (just about 19) years old, and already I'm making plans for my kids. Buying books for them. Deciding what crafts we'll do. Thinking up the perfect outfit. What movies I'm going to make them watch. What songs I'll sing to them.
I'm at that point in life where I forget all about Prince Charming and how much I can't wait to meet him...and am very much thinking about my future kiddos and how much I can't wait to meet them.
I'm a little bit future-oriented. Have you noticed? ;)
Lord, give me patience.