Watching the kids get older by the second, I am almost constantly reminded of phases of my own childhood. We seem to have a child in every stage of older childhood right now, and it is marvelous. I watch their interactions and can be taken back to sibling play, quarrel, and competition instantly.
It's such magic to be part of it, then to watch it again.
I grew up in the city, near the airport. Our neighborhood was a good, old fashioned place, with lots of streets full of wonderful houses, and kids galore. We were a diverse bunch, I can even remember fights breaking out in the street, but for the most part, I remember the fun times. The innocent times.
I walked two blocks to school through 4th grade. I wore a uniform, as it was a Catholic school. I had to wear a skirt to school the whole school year. Our babysitter was our neighbor.
This time of year, I am reminded of how red my legs got walking just those two blocks. (I didn't like to put on pants under my skirt, or snow pants. Too much effort.) I remember knowing lots of the neighbors who lived in the houses I passed.
I remember feeling safe in the world.
I remember street lights made of white stone, or concrete. How they were my curfew, which changed as the seasons changed.
I remember having friends who lived all over the place. Across the street, down the street, around the corner, or a few streets over. It was all good. Bikes were our transport, and everything was accessible.
I remember snowball fights which would put girls against boys and it seemed every kid in the neighborhood joined in. I remember a friend's house, which was dark brown, covered in white polka dots of snow. How I thought it was hilarious and beautiful at the same time.
Who remembers skeetching? I had to google that to make sure it was a real word, and it's in the urban dictionary. You can look it up if you want to know what it is. It was popular in our "hood". I remember it well, but I would never allow my kids to even try it.
I remember piling in the station wagon to go sledding. (Yeah, the station wagon!) Crowding as many people as you can into one car, because that's all there was. I remember steam coming off our snow clothes when we got back in the car, as we thawed ourselves by the heater vents.
Now, we live in the country, and are lucky to have a hill right outside the house. I can watch the kids sled from our living room and dining room windows. Reliving my own sledding youth. It's awesome.
So many memories, these are only a few. It's what came to my mind on this, a blistery cold snow day.