Five things I miss from my childhood.
So I've been giving it a bit of thought. I had a pretty awesome childhood, which I realized, to some degree, during it, but I have a lot more perspective and appreciation, now, of course. Anyway, I sat down and thought a bit about what I miss from that time.
Ahh, I thought, I miss swimming at Kelly Warm Springs in the summer! But just as I was about to type it up, I realized that although I have fabulous memories of swimming there, catching fish in our silly little nets, big big birthday parties, watching dogs play frisbee in the water, seeing people learning to roll their kayaks, sneaking around in the muck and reeds... I don't actually miss it. Fabulous memories, but no desire to reclaim that activity in my current life.
Moving on, I thought about other activities that I enjoyed as a kid, and most of them fit the same pattern. I loved doing this, that or the other, but I'm not the same person, and so they no longer draw me back in any magnetic way. I enjoyed them; I would probably still enjoy most of them, now, in fact. But I don't feel any missing about them and the fact that I don't do them anymore.
That said, I did, eventually, manage to come up with five things, and I could probably have thought of five more, even, but the fact is, though childhood was fun, adulthood is far better. So far, in the arc of my life, there's a steady incline in how good things are for me. So childhood doesn't hold a strong nostalgia or any sense of, "Oh, those were the days!" Instead, it was a good time, with a lot of frustrations and difficulties, and it clearly paved the way for me to come to where I am now, which I appreciate. I like the childhood-as-strong-foundation model of life, which is lucky, because that's what I've got.
Anyway, on to a few things I "miss" from my childhood.
The first real thing I could come up with were the Chanukah parties I remember from when I was quite young. When I was very young, there were only a small handful of Jewish families in JH, most of them mixed. At the time, Chanukah parties were frustrating for me because I was older than most of the other kids who went, but the food was always good, the people warm and friendly, and I loved the singing and the candles. Later, the community got bigger, and the parties accordingly did the same. The food was still good, but the parties didn't have the same small, cozy warmth. In fact, the last one I attended, a few years ago, while home for the winter holidays, was held at the episcopal church, which has, apparently, been pretty awesome about sharing space with the growing Jewish community. That definitely wasn't the same. So I miss those parties, but at least in part, my feeling of missing them comes from knowing that they, unlike, say, Kelly Warm Springs, are no longer available at all.
Sticking to that time of year, I miss going out to get a Christmas tree, bringing it home, and waiting impatiently for all the snow and ice to thaw so we could get busy decorating it. Unlike all you city-dwellers, we didn't go down to the xmas tree collection on the corner and pick out the nicest tree for our purposes. Instead, we got a permit from the Forest Service to go out and cut one from the forest. Then we'd head up the pass, strap on skis, do a lot of skiing and falling, and then we'd seek out the perfect tree. What I learned from the process of finding the right tree is this: it's not what you expect. I always wanted to find the big, bushy, impressive tree, but my parents always had other ideas. We looked for two trees that were growing so close together that they couldn't both survive as they grew bigger. This meant that cutting one might do some good, AND that it would only have branches on one side of the tree. This, of course, annoyed me, since I wanted the perfect tree. But, as my parents pointed out, the tree goes in a corner, so why should it have branches all the way around? They also always insisted on getting silly short little trees. But, somehow, when we got them home, they were always just the right height, maybe even a little too tall! The tree that seemed overly sparse in the forest, when surrounded by big, bushy trees, turned out to be perfect for our living room. All of this was a good lesson in context-is-everything: what's perfect in the forest won't even fit in our living room, so, when acquiring something, think about how it will fit where you want to put it, not how it fits where you initially see it. So I miss the outings, and I sometimes miss having a xmas tree, but I got the take-home lesson.
Another thing I miss is sleepovers. And, again, to some degree, this is missable because it's not a possibility anymore. Oh, sure, I still sleep over at friends' and/or lovers' houses, and it's great fun, but it doesn't have that same, secret, subversive, getting-away-with-something feeling to it when we stay up past our bedtime, giggle over the Playgirl someone's mom bought us as a joke, or put each other's bras in the freezer. (Okay, maybe not to much on that last one -- I don't think that kind of fun ever goes out of style!) So, although I love the freedom and self-determination that comes with being a "grown-up," I miss the sneaking about that gives staying up late an extra thrill, and the whispering, giggling, tiptoeing around, ghost-story-telling, midnight-snack-sneaking, overall tone of slumber parties.
I miss having a trampoline in the back yard, with a sprinkler stuck under it on hot days. But that might just be because summer here in Boston leaves so much to be desired.
Finally, I miss playing dress-up. Interestingly, this is one that I can occasionally reclaim, since I'm not much of a make-up kind of woman, so on those occasions where I do wear make-up, I get that fancy feeling of playing dress-up and experimenting with all the crazy cosmetics that just don't make sense. I had a kick-ass dress-up box of fun clothing -- hand-me-downs and lingerie from the second hand store. One summer, my best friend and I played dress up EVERY day, and then danced and lip synched to Tears for Fears, Madonna, and Cyndi Lauper. We made it look like enough fun that my brother and some of his friends got into it, too. Don't tell them I told you.
I'd like to invite kimcob, psongster and dbang to do this one if they'd like. (And, really, anyone else on my flish, I'd love to read your responses :)