Maybe it’s 11 things. The first thing, not to be written in list form below, is that we have Hamilton: An American Musical tickets for this weekend. Enter all kinds of mild freak-outs about how bad I can be about anticipating big things, and about crowds and emotions and dark rooms in which anything can happen. The room where it happens, if you will. And then enter all kinds of thoughts about my kids and their life dreams, and how many nine-year-olds do you know that see Harry Potter: The Cursed Child back to back with Hamilton: An American Musical? I mean, really! I saw Tommy when I was 14, though.
Not to mention, that Scarlet had already seen six moose by her 7th birthday, and Des by his 3rd. That said, he was two at the time and doesn’t remember. Scarlet, though. She remembers everything. All the things you don’t want her to remember – like getting her hand stuck in the minivan door – and all the things you do want her to remember. Like fulfilling dreams.
Although I never saw back-to-back Broadway shows, and I didn’t even see moose or feel the California sun until just before my 24th birthday, that doesn’t mean I don’t admire where I came from and what it was like. Despite having an early childhood tragedy – and the worst one at that – it really was the only early life I knew. And then the only developing life I knew/have known/know now. I left New Jersey for places closer to my ski lodge loving heart, but am filled with the weight of all the love and experiences and moments it gave me. I take those gifts with me through life. And I carry them with me.
10 Gifts from my Childhood:
1 – Getting high on life. I don’t know where it came from – was it my mother, my father, my grandmother, or just me? Was it everything – and some sort of collective unconscious, deep sigh of gratitude and relief – for simple things, and for sweeping things? Whatever it is, I’ve made it my own brand and I’m sticking to it. I couldn’t tell you where and when it started, but one of my most vivid memories was during 5th grade math. We were using some sort of counting wheel and went out for a stroll during a spring day to use it. The grass was green and fragrant, the birds were singing, the sky was so blue, and it hit me. It took my breath away – that giddy, dizzying feeling of being ALIVE. Later in life it would hit me, and hit me hard.
2 – An elevated or just sick sense of humor. Call it dry, call it wet, call it what you will – we have it in spades. My grandmother once said we all used it as a coping mechanism, and an effective one at that. And I just had to smile.
3 – An ability to tune out anything. Whether that’s good or bad, I’m not bothered by sights and sounds and even smells, unless I’m pregnant (then all bets are off). I was born a deep sleeper, but I call it survival. Having four loud siblings and sharing walls? I had to learn to read and sleep and eat and dream while hopelessly oblivious to the world around me.
4 – A deep love of good classic rock. Of course the music my parents played in the house and in the car is the music we all crave these days. Funny how that happens. Although Scarlet already likes my music. Where’s the rebellion??
5 – From my childhood, I learned that having pets – within reason – is super important to me. Although it’s limiting in our household. Nothing that belongs in the air or in the water or in a cage. No pellet poop and nothing that dies easily.
6 – I also learned from my childhood that annual family trips are important. We do Cape Cod and Florida and sometimes they’re barely trips and barely vacations and barely sanity, but you need to break up your years with touches of magic.
7 – One of the gifts of my childhood is sibling and cousin and uncle and aunt and niece and nephew love. Nothing like it.
8 – My parents taught us to have open minds. And trust me – they didn’t get all that from their families of origin! My mom used to joke that it was a waste that she was raising five heterosexual kids because we always had an open-hearted, open-minded place to call home. It takes all kinds in this crazy world. Why oh why would you think people were more or less than you, based on their age, race, sex, orientation, identity, income, religion, etc. Here’s the thing. That’s not how it works.
9 – From my childhood, I learned kindness. And the way you treat people in public (and in private). That stuff sticks. I watched it and my kids watch it. “Quick” story. In 2004 after I had just met Cassidy I said bye and drove home from JFK.
As I got to that horrible Goethals Bridge/Verrazano Bridge area, I realized too late that I had no cash on me and no EZPass. I was so incredibly out of it that I tried to drive through a gated EZPass lane. So I stopped short and backed out of that lane (incredibly illegal) and was instantly pulled over by a cop. I had illegally backed up, I had no money to pay the toll, my registration wasn’t current (!!) and I couldn’t even find my proof of insurance. Seriously could have spent a night in jail. Two cops were there, a male and female, the female yelling at me and running off to write me what she said were “multiple tickets!” I sat calmly and waited. The male cop came back to me with just a simple question. “Why are you so nice?” I stuttered out a response, “Uh..nice? My mom, I guess.” He told me I could go home and kiss my mom because my niceness just got me out of EVERY SINGLE TICKET. He let me go without even paying, with all that I did illegally. A photo from it:
10 – Dreaming my dreams with you. I’m from a long line of generations of strong men and women fulfilling life dreams and taking names. I’m not sure I am one in the full capacity, but I sure am raising one. Here’s to dreams, and to all of you.
This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do on a Friday, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “10 gifts from my childhood” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin: HERE.