Thursday, August 05, 2010

Remembering Being Small

I have been thinking about my childhood a lot lately. The familiar smell, the feel of expectancy on Christmas Eve.

This morning I woke up to a darkened room due to an overcast sky and lots of rain. And I started remembering being a little girl and awakening in the wintertime in the 6:00 or 7:00 hour. It would be dark out, but I could hear my dad getting ready to leave for work. I'd slip out of bed and go and sit in the hallway outside the bathroom and watch my dad. I remember the Gillette shaving cream with the red top and watching him spread it evenly over his face. The scratchy sound it made as the razor went over his face in precise lines. Then I would follow him into my parents' bedroom and lay on his side of the bed and watch him get dressed in his fancy clothes to head to work. I remember the smell of the cologne he wore most often, and still wears today --- it was always Calvin Klein's Obsession. I actually called him this morning to tell him I was remembering these things and couldn't remember the name of that cologne. And as I lay in bed remembering it made me think of Nanci Griffith's song about sitting on a Southbound Train in the rain and thinking of her childhood and trying not to cry. I was lucky to have had a magical childhood. It really is a time that can't be duplicated. And now, I love love love being a mother so much that it hurts, but sometimes I miss being the little child, too. I've got a treasure trove of happy memories that make me feel those same feelings of security and love and warmth when I remember them -- as much as they also can make me want to cry.

Fall is hanging in the balance. I can feel it creeping towards us. And I am stuck somewhere in between: I want the cooler day temperatures something fierce, but when the heat goes, so do my tomatoes and lovely garden and I am NOT ready for that. I am anxious for fall football and, even though my husband would laugh, fall decorating in my house. (He said to me a week or two ago, amidst laughing, "I can't believe you measure the seasons changing by your mantel decorating.") I love the fall harvest, the beautiful colors, the crispness in the air, and, of course...the holidays. I am noticing that holidays become more and more fun as the kids are getting older. It's that same sense of expectancy that I felt as a child -- alive in their bright eyes and anxious voices and sense of wonder. I feel it again.

Yesterday, while the kids were napping, I went outside to work in my garden. It brought me such peace. The world seemed quiet. The sky was overcast. Just me and the dirt. Pulling the weeds, raking through it and tidying each row.

And then the other afternoon I felt peace in the quiet as well. The kids were asleep and I was folding laundry and listening to this talk from last conference. I found myself thinking about how much I love being a mother and how much conviction I feel in this role. I thought about writing letters to my children each year, talking to them as if they were adults about their lives right now and the experiences we are sharing and tucking these letters away to be given to them as adults. And, should something ever happen to me before they're grown, they'd have a recent letter from me to be able to read from me and know how I felt about them, how I felt about being their mom.

And I need to make zucchini bread again. A couple of weeks ago there was some baking in the oven and it reminded me of fall, smelling the cloves and cinnamon.

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