Month: February, 2014

335 Words on the Joys of Childhood (I just couldn’t do it in 100)

Walking through my neighborhood on an unseasonably sunny Saturday I watched, with pleasure and longing, children cavorting (yes—they were cavorting!) and playing along the sidewalks. It made me yearn, yet again, for the days of being the mom of young children. But why, I asked myself, why do I miss that time so much?

I believe that I’ve finally come up with an answer. I understand it so much better now.

My childhood was a good one. My parents did the very best they could with limited resources, both financial and emotional. They gave us food, shelter, clothing. Check, step one for Maslow.

They gave us love and security. By the time I joined the family there was a modicum of security; I never worried that we would be out on the street. Check, step two up the pyramid.

My parents loved us and impressed upon us the importance of family. It’s part of their legacy that my siblings and I value each other greatly to this day—another successful step up the pyramid.

This is where, for me, the disconnect begins and the happy childhood ends. This explains why I yearn for the days with my youngsters: joy.

My childhood was healthy, secure and loving but it lacked joy. My parents simply didn’t know how to experience and then impart joy. We laughed because my brother Tommy would do silly impressions. We loved the special occasions of ice cream and potato chips. But I don’t remember the freedom of unadulterated joy:  running, screaming, jumping, rejoicing in the world.

As a parent I always wanted to give my children the “things” that I didn’t have. And foolishly, I thought it was things–cool clothes, toys, summer camp. Turns out, it was joy.

As I walk down the street and see the children cavorting on a sunny day I realize what I miss is the joy of childhood—the joy that I didn’t have, but I hope I was able to give to my kids.




Dooney and Bourke

I carry a really big purse, a totebag. It was, for me, expensive and more handbag than I’ve had in a long time. I love it. It’s modern and classic all at the same time.

This is how I organize my bag: in the middle is my wallet and metro card—practical and easy to grab. The pocket on the left holds my “literary” stuff—notebook and pens. The pocket on the right holds my girly stuff—comb, lotion, Chapstick, etc. Reaching in yesterday, I realized my handbag is a perfect metaphor for me—literary with a side of girly.

Bursting boxes and bubbles

“We live too much in our own boxes.”

This from a man who runs a food pantry. His appeal was for people to look around, volunteer, reach out to those in need. I think it goes beyond that—we each live in our bubble, hardly thinking about what goes on in other’s lives.  Ever think about the daily routine of your bus driver? Thought about the challenges a teacher faces each day, in the classroom and out? Do you imagine what it’s like to live as a minority?

Look up, look out. Climb out of your box. Leave the bubble.

Adult Heart, Child Heart

The adult heart knows what the child heart struggles to understand.

“My father beat me,” says the adult heart, “it’s part of the culture. I understand.”

I beg to differ.  I believe that the adult heart accepts, but the child heart can remain wounded. How do the hearts heal? (This is a true question, not rhetorical)

I remember the time my mother slapped me right across my face. I easily recall the wounding words my father said. My adult heart sees and acknowledges, knowing that they loved me. Yet, my child heart still shows a small tear (tare, not teer).