It’s so easy to go about your daily life and forget you used to not be able to reach the bathroom sink or tie your own shoes. It reminds me in a small way of Ms. Trunchbull, “They’re all mistakes, children! Filthy, nasty things. Glad I never was one.”

Yet there are moments -swift, fleeting moments -when your body is ripped through by the sensation of childhood. You feel alive, energized… and roughly 8 years old. Strictly speaking, you’re positively trampled by nostalgia. It’s invigorating, really. And even when the sensation is gone, it leaves you feeling changed.

This has happened to me many, many times -usually when I’m reading one of my journals from grade school days. But last Saturday it happened again, and the feeling was about 1,000 times sharper than normal. For the first time ever, I longed to be little again, if only to tap into my little unworried, imaginative brain.

It all happened here:
The school playground.

I took my kids and my little cousin there to play. My sister met us there with a few kids she was babysitting, and we all just ran around until we were tired and wanted Mr. G’s ice cream more than the slides.
And as I watched my kids running rampant on the exact same equipment I used to run rampant on, I was struck. It seemed to overtake me, and I could almost ALMOST see my best friend hanging from the monkey bars, skipping two as she went (I was so impressed). I could see us with our skinny, long legs hanging from the bridges and our hair standing on end after we came out of the tube slide. I remember my friends huddling close to me and holding me while I cried during recess one day because I had spent months preparing to go to the Junior High All-State Band Festival… only to be told the day I was supposed to leave that I wouldn’t be going on account of unforseen, unavoidable circumstances.
I remember playing Follow the Leader.
I remember being told on Halloween that my princess dress was all wrong -princesses never wear brown dresses, apparently. I went home feeling rather dejected only to have my level of excitement brought back full-force by my expert of a mother.
I thought of the library inside the school -it was my favorite place in the entire building. I used to get lost in the books there, and I couldn’t get enough. The library fed my imagination a constant diet of adventure. I jumped time zones, countries, races, spaces! It was more gratifying than the tire swing (which has been taken down, probably for the best).

I stood rooted to the playground dirt while my inner-child pulled herself from the depths of my soul and slapped me across the face.
Then I walked away the better for it.
(The monkey bars my friend would skip two on. SOMETIMES even three. So cool, I know.)
(Seth building houses in the dirt. I didn’t want to tell him they looked exactly like wigwams.)

When I start to forget that I used to be a child -and I will, we all do -I’ll always have my kids around to remind me. I’ll always have their big, trusting eyes staring into my soul wondering if I approve of them… if they’re doing things right. And I’ll always have their smiling faces.
See that? His face is like a tonic for the soul. One look at this picture, and all seems right with the world. All you need is a little time with a swing (and Aunt JuJu, naturally).


  1. Okay, I have to tell you about this–when you started talking about not being able to reach the bathroom sink or tie your shoes, I thought you were talking about pregnancy!! :) And then I realized where MY mind was, and realized you were talking about being little. Which, I, too, have been missing. :)

  2. Oh the memories. :) what about playing songs from aladdin on flutes during recess (please tell me you remember that)? :)

    • storylady says:

      I still can’t watch Aladdin without thinking of you. This last weekend, we went to a resort and while we were playing in the pool, they projected “Aladdin” onto a screen to watch while we swam and it made me think of our awesome flute skills. Haha!

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