Childhood this, childhood that. “When I was a kid,” “way back when,” “oh, back in the day,” or even “as a wee lad.” If I got a dime for every time I have heard phrases like these from the mouths of those who are elderly around me, I would be a wealthy woman. I hear adults around me chat about their childhoods often, recalling sweet memories and moments in their lives when they were forever changed. When I think about my childhood, I do not see any truly ravishing moments where I knew my morals and character would be forever changed. The childhood memories I tend to remember faintly are random 10 second “snip its” of my life that seem to have no significant meaning on their own, but as a whole, they are a tapestry filled with majestic but simple meaning.
First, lets unleash the “snip its.” When I think of childhood, I think about the hide out bush my brother and I played in with the red berries. We would put them in the statues eyes, pretending he would come to life.The sheer wonder that filled my being when I spotted a fragile teal egg shell from a robins egg in spring time. I travel back to the snow forts, the pink bikes, the stuffed animals. Where my barbie dolls were the most real. I can see clearly my older brother and I cramming onto our green and brown motor scooter with loads of fishing supplies hanging out the back. I wrapped one arm around him and diligently tried to hold onto the fishing poles and tackle box. I prayed like crazy to catch just one fish or feel one tug on the line. One time, to my surprise, there was a snapping turtle on the other end of the line. What kind of jokester is answering these prayers I thought?! When we did catch one, we lurched for the disposable camera, laid in the grass next to our fish, and took a selfie, long before they ever gained that title. I can again sense the pain and taste the tears that fell from my eyes onto my lips when daddy had to use the tweezers to pull out my slivers. The worst one was a piece of wood that was painted blue. It was lodged into my big toe, and once removed, a rainbow bandaid covered the then empty wound. I think of the dragon tale mornings, the fish sticks when babysitters came, the Reese’s Puff cereal we got maybe once a year, and even the dinosaur egg oatmeal. I cannot forget the tickle fights with dad where my stomach ached and tightened from too much laughter. Maybe that is how I got the six pack… oh wait, that must be someone else’s 10 second memory.
Back then, I drove a spaceship, was a puppy, could control peoples lives (barbies of course), and was the best dancer and singer the world had ever known. Now who could forget the neighbor girl who pretended to be a cat and had a bigger stuffed animal collection than was good for her. I remember dreading putting on a bike helmet, since I thought the snap would pinch me. Then there is the time grandma told me to not cry about goodbyes, but just call them see you laters. It was magical when the baby bunnies were born in our front yard, partially pink and skin, but some fuzzy newly grown fur too. I bet they remember that moment as well as I do, hardly. Now, my mother never rejected me when I was hurt. Whether I stubbed my toe or lost a limb, she would hug me close, put some ice on it, or even a bandaid, whether blood was visible or not. She read me “Goodnight Moon” over and over to the point where she didn’t even need to read the words anymore.
This list of random 10 second memories could carry on and on. They get sweeter with length for me, but maybe not for you, as they are not your life memories. But what I encourage you to do is make a list like I have done here, they take you back to a whole new world, but in reality, they are the same life you’re living now, just a different segment of it. Here is the question though, do you know the significance behind all these memories?
I have lived, and I continue to. I have made memories, and I still do today. I have fallen to my knees in sorrow, tasted my salty tears, jumped for joy, covered my face in embarrassment, tossed in my bed for lack of sleep, and pretended my dreams were real. My lungs breathe breath, my heart pumps blood, and my eyes blink. I have been given today. Why? Because my gracious Heavenly Father allows me to. Life is a gift, as simple or extravagant as it may be. I think we should let the ordinary become intriguing and the mundane become magical just like it did when we were children. For today, I live, and that is the sweetest gift I have ever been given. I remember today what could be called simple childhood, because though it is simple indeed (not character or moral changing necessarily), it reminds me that I have lived, and continue to by the grace of my Creator. Reflecting on simple childhood helps me remember I live simply today and to look forward to tomorrow. A professor once told me he sometimes wakes up at 3 am so eager to start the day. He phrases it by saying that he pops up out of bed just like a piece of toast. Why? Because He is given life, simplicity and all, and it enthralls him. Let’s get back to a kind of simple childhood, for it speaks to us the beauty of living.
words by Kylie Hultgren and photo by Clara Espe