1. I go back to my parents' house where I grew up. Being inside is nice but the things that really take me back to childhood are the out of doors. For each season I have special places, nooks, corners, bushes, trees, or just the grass where I spent a lot of time. And, of course, the smells are particularly powerful. I look up at the night sky during the winter and see the stars and I'm launched. Right now I'm smelling the blossoms and am reminded of Frog and Toad's The Corner, where "spring is right around the corner" and I went looking for it. And i found it, around the corner, on some pure, clean dry dirt near the bushes, where I sat, in the sun, in my tiny patch of spring. I get flashes of this now and then when talking about spring to Julian.
2. I go back by talking to my siblings, hearing their stories which are also mine but had been forgotten. We recently compiled a collection of memories for a book for my parents. I set up a google doc for us to add things to at our leisure. One of the categories was "objects"-- things we just remember lying around from our youth, like weird statues or mementos or furniture or blankets. They listed so many things i had forgotten. "The old green hamper!" It was crazy.
3. I go back by talking to Julian, who loves to hear stories from my youth. I go back by teaching him extremely important things, like how to eat graham crackers (dipping it in a cup of milk, trying not to dip for too long so that it falls off, but having a spoon on standby just in case) and reading books from my youth. Let me tell you something. If you want to go back to your childhood, go to your parents' house and rummage through and then thieve all the old books you used to read. WOW. So powerful. Julian and I have finished The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks (parts one and two), Fairy Rebel, have just started Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and on the docket: Mandy and Indian in the Cupboard.
Recently I attended a church activity where they asked for childhood photos to display. I went through a box and found one, Sean conjured up a frame from somewhere, and I submitted it. People would walk around trying to guess who was who and then eat dinner at the tables where the pictures were displayed. I sat right in front of my own pic and as people would walk by, trying to guess who the little girl was, i'd make comments like, "yeah, who knows. All I know is she's friggin' adorable.." and then when they realized it was me and it got a little awkward, i'd say i was extremely vain and just liked to look at me, which didn't make it any less awkward but is just me embracing the awkwardness.
But then i took the picture home and sat it on the kitchen counter and guess what? I kind of like it. Nope, I pretty much love it. I love to walk by and see it. Is this weird? Is this truly vain of me? It's a cute picture but more than that, when I walk by and glance at it I'm struck with this really powerful feeling of familiarity of maybe someone important that I used to know. Since that person is me, this makes a lot of sense. But i haven't seen pictures of my kid-self for a long time and looking at her is reminding me of that time and, kind of, who I used to be and really, still am. A little scraggly girl running around on the grass. And I love her. I love little Jen. She is so a part of me, even now. I see a tiny bit of Julian in her but mostly, when I look at her, I just feel more connected to myself. She is my friend. She reminds me of me. And it's so fun, that I would even recommend to you to go dig up a kid picture of yourself and put it out. See how kid-you makes you feel. And bring back just a little of your childhood.
|i also love this picture for the shirt I was wearing. It says, "want a little girl? take my sister." And even though reading that now really makes it sound like a blatant advertisement to kidnappers, I l-o-v-e-d this shirt and wore it to smithereens.|