Jack’s Five and Ten, Grape and Orange Popsicles and 1 cent fortune gum—the best gum—memories of the past but history of the future. Instead of sitting in traffic on the Kennedy Expressway, we decide to take Cumberland to get us into the city. We hit the city and the neighborhood, streets and areas become familiar. 2543 N. Kilbourn, we are by the first house I remember as a kid. It’s actually and apartment. My parent’s help manage it and took care of the tenants. It is where my sister and I ate our neighbor’s fundraiser Tootsie roll tubes. They looked so inviting in those tubes with the slots at top. Mom was not impressed. “I am going to have to pay for all of those.” Her words still clear nearly 30 years later. I thought to myself, we ate almost all of them. “Oh no!” The backyard comes into view and I remember my childhood play: “I knew a senorita with diamonds in her hair,” my favorite black shoes, the tons of stairs that led down into the back common yard. The garage, the ally. We continue on, “that is the high school you would have gone to if we didn’t move.” Mom says. Kelvyn Park we come upon next. Sprinklers, Metal swing horses—not sure if they were trying to eliminate kids because these swings though fun were deadly! 2825 N. Kenneth, my favorite house. My Mom loved this house. Creativity would sneak in on cold days—tape recording my favorite songs of my favorite station B96. Snowy days Barbies would visit Alaska right out the window of my bedroom. Down the street childhood memories return like the sun on a bright day: neighbors, tragedies, kids and kid stuff. At the stop sign we turn left, Barry Elementary, the grammar school I attended until 6th grade. “Look,” I say to my kids—“that is my grammar school.” “That looks creepy,” they say. I laugh, “you should see the inside.” Past the ally my mom would walk me through when I called home from the office, sick for the 5th time that week. I am lucky she did not follow the “Boy who cried wolf” fable. Teacher problems, I wasn’t really sick. Being a kid seems like a different world as my mind travels back to my childhood. Looking back that different world was forming much of who I am today. Life lessons were learned, fears faced—conquered and not, consequences paid, milestones met. “Mom, I have to pee,” my three-year old bursts out as we are driving. Where will we stop, the neighborhood has changed so much since my childhood, we found a restaurant behind my grammar school. I had not walked near that school in years. A zap, the memories. My kids, our kids, they are in the midst of their childhood. Inventions, technology has increased the speed of life. That is my philosophy anyway. Kids, they are so eager to grow up faster. I am old school I suppose, I say be a kid, cherish your childhood, it only lasts just a short while and “the little years pass so fast.” These are famous words, I hear them all the time. I have no rebuke. I am seeing my kids grow before my eyes.
My heart and prayers go out to those kids whose childhood is less than a childhood in any way. I know that in certain circumstances…childhood can be less than optimal.
I look at him as he sleeps. I think to myself, is he really mine? He was a newborn just yesterday, in reality yesterday was 10 years ago. He sleeps and I slip back into his baby years, my first born. The time we spent together–he and I. Reflecting on one of my most favorite traits about him, his smile and infectious laugh. I prayed he would always keep that with him and not let the weight of the world turn on a frown, that he would push through his challenges no matter what they are. Looking at him, I ache for his struggles–the battle that he fights. A fight where I can be in his army and walk with him in his battle and be his backup where needed. Feeling what he feels will never be a superpower of mine. To walk in his shoes will be as close as I get to his fight. I will battle with him on his journey. I will be happy as he meets his successes. I will stand in his corner as he meets his childhood battles and then some. Patience and understanding will be a battle tool of mine that will be sharpened. Answers will be the treasure. The goal to help him fight his battles while he lives a great life!
Alarm clock set for 5 a.m., Yes! I can do it. Dropped my husband off at work the night before so we could get there on time. Nine and a half years ago Dicky started working for an airline. I resigned at my job to be at home with our then six month old baby boy. Deciding to stay home was an up and down roller coaster, though in the end, staying home was the end of one ride and the beginning of a new one. The combination of flight benefits and the choice to stay home, William and I started using the flight benefits and traveling often. We saw a lot of baseball, traveled to many states and visited my hometown of Chicago and Dicky’s hometown of California. It was a time of fun with a lot of learning. Fast forward one year from my last travels on an airplane, relying on my early travel expertise, we set out to Chicago to see my side of the family as the oldest two kids’ summer vacation began. Sitting on the airplane, I thought to myself, we did it! I did it! Security and the flight were successful minus a couple of blunders. No major breakdowns and a mostly calm baby, an older sibling helping a younger and a nap for baby, big sister and Dad. Yes, travels–on a plane (in a public space) with kids (little, young kids) can be stressful and feel not worth it, though with a few pairs of hands, a semi-plan of organization, a few musical plane chairs, trips to the hardly fit one person bathroom, a couple snacks (mostly sugar) and not worrying too much about the plane company, we pulled off our travels with four kiddos with mostly high spirits and arrived all in one piece. We are enjoying excursion number one of the summer.
2004, the year I found out I was pregnant with my first child. Exciting and new and ready for a new adventure. Pregnancy progressed and I saw my body changing. I thought it was just the belly, that is where the baby grew after all.Time progressed, I got through the beginning, the hardest part for me. Sick, tired and just didn’t quite feel like me. Once passed the sickness, uncontrolled hunger. Where did this come from? I wanted to eat everything and my weight began to reflect it. 40 weeks passed and I gave birth to my firstborn son. An amazing experience. Now, I find myself in my 6th pregnancy, my 4th to term pregnancy and I have found that I am not the greatest pregnant woman nor do I marvel in being pregnant. Hibernation for 12 months or so would not be so much to ask, would it? Approaching my 28th week, entering my third trimester, I cannot believe the time has past as quick as it has for this pregnancy. After a miscarry in October of 2013, I feel like I have been pregnant forever (I was able to get pregnant again in November 2014). In my previous pregnancy, I really didn’t take the time to enjoy the life that was growing inside. I was focused on the weight I was gaining and why with each pregnancy I feel like I have such lack of control when it come to food during pregnancy. I have worked to focus on the growth of baby and not worry so much about my lack of physical activity (though I try to be as active as possible). My body hurts this pregnancy around and I know that this is the last time I will be pregnant. I work at focusing on the kicks that are happening inside, the growth, the life that is living vs. the roundness of my face or the extra weight I will be left with after baby arrives. As I write, she kicks, she moves and I know that she is there. It’s as if she knows that I am writing about her and her life to be. Life is a miracle, the growth of a child is a miracle. As I realize this, I work to set aside my insecurities to enjoy these last encounters with pregnancy: kicks, side sleeping, rolling out of bed, physical limitations, round belly, awkward pregnancy waddle. I know as this season of my life comes to a close, I will miss it. Though I am ready for the continued adventures of motherhood and parenting.
“Mom, I want to be your age,” my oldest daughter, who is six, said to me. My heart nearly broke. When I think about life, being an adult and going from kid, teenager, young adult, adult, into older adult, getting older adult and so on…I think of how little the time is to be a kid! 12 years out of 100 or so (hopefully). As a kid, I watched my parents, I thought, yeah, I want to make my own decisions when I get older, use the phone when I want, go to sleep when I want, eat when and what I want but I never realized how great I had it as a kid. Yeah, I had to listen to my parents and a lot of time I didn’t want to do what they said though as a parent now, I realize, I had it pretty good as a kid. We had money to get us through,simple vacations and drive-able cars, my parents took care of us and taught us how to be self-sufficient. We played with fisher price toys, played hopscotch, rode our bikes outside, caught lightning bugs on summer nights and enjoyed the stickiness of hot summer nights. We scraped our knees, watched Scooba Doo, Gidget and I Dream of Jeannie. Computers were barely coming into homes for personal use. Now, it seems like computers and technology are taking over and kids feel like they have to move faster, live in fantasy worlds and give up their childhood. I say, go climb the tree outside, enjoy the fresh air, spring breeze, fall crispness, winter freeze and summertime fun! Swim in pools, read outside, play at the playgrounds. Run, play tag, fall down. Have as much fun as you can in your 12 childhood years, being a grown up comes fast and then you wonder, where in the world did childhood go? And, responsibility, isn’t that for parents?
Much of the time I don’t recall the activities I did as a child with my parents. There are pieces here and there and events that stand out in my mind. I can’t remember a lot of the time I spent with my parents, only what they share with me. A spontaneous trip to Ikea today, I asked the kids if they wanted to go and they were pretty excited about the idea. There is a play area for the kids and it gets us out of the house for a little. I wanted to get some art organizing supplies, to encourage more art and creativity vs. the perfected art of sitting in front of the tv or other screen. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and all of its perks and forms of communication technology provides, just I am a big fan of having the kids still use their brilliant minds that they have so much room to create things in. Returning to my original thought, I turned to my kids as we entered the Ikea parking lot and expressed to them that I don’t know if I will remember the exact moment we were in the car together at Ikea or if they would remember this moment either, though I wanted them to know that I love them. It is crazy sometimes how childhood can seem like such a different life. A different lifetime from long ago, a make-believe world, a land of imagination. When they look back on events of their lives, I hope the can remember my simple message to them, I love them and I am so grateful to have the time to spend with them. Especially, in these days of hustle, bustle and time that seems to pass so quickly. I want my kids to know I love them.
Capturing the moment in a picture is something I need to do! Like all kids, my kids do some of the most random things. My three year old is a beginner potty trainer. He does his best to use toilet paper for its intended use–he also loves to wash his hands. His speech is not completely clear yet, though I could tell from his tone he believed he achieved something miraculous! I walked into the bathroom, to find the biggest ball of wet toilet paper plastered to the mirror. Water dripping down. He thought this was a magnificent achievement! I thought to myself, thank goodness they are not plastered everywhere! An A+ for creativity and the perfect ball of TP.