This Side of Childhood

Sometimes, life seen from this side of childhood is more or less a reminder of how much fun it was to be kids.

Summers meant sleeping in, no homework and playing all day – often until the street lights came on and it was time to go home.

Days were spent swimming at a friend’s house; pretty much living in your bathing suit and drinking powder blended pink beverages. The ones that were 100% full of sugar and red dye #2 replacements, but they gave you the energy to tread water even after hours and hours of bobbing around. We were pruned and tan. No one asked us to wear sun screen, or if we had eaten recently.

We could forget about school. We were too young to work. Our parents were thankful that we were not stuck indoors (which only occurred when it rained,) saying “I’m bored…”

We took turns making PB&J (with the crusts on, no mom I knew would ever cut off the crust – I don’t even know what Judd Nelson was talking about) and Kraft Mac and Cheese.

We helped friends do their chores so we could go out and play if they hadn’t done theirs yet (that is, until their mom found out.) We saved our change to buy Twizzlers and 100 Grand bars and anything else our parents would certainly not have approved of us eating.

Dares were made – challenges were taken – who could make the highest jump, the biggest splash and go the fastest on the skateboard down the hill. It was exhilarating, breathtaking and fun doesn’t even begin to explain what it felt like to be living.

Soon though, we got older, old enough to need to work, so we could buy a car, or pay at least for our insurance and gas money – but back then, at least someone would pump my gas for me – every, single time.

It’s a bright memory. Still, it’s not worth all of the other things that came later. Teen awkwardness, losing old friends, but thankfully, gaining new ones. Then, first crushes and that first time being crushed. SATs, and finals, before finding the right place to go next.

Looking back, from this side of childhood, sure, I would go back, but only for those blissful days of summer. The rest? I am glad I only had to do once…and just enough to have empathy for those going through it now…unless they say they’re bored.

~ Dawn aka Hat Girl

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