i have recently found an old friend from elementary school on face book. i had forgotten all about her and the times we played in the neighborhood. her family was French as mine was and we could speak in French to each other when we didn't want the other kids to know what we were saying. at the time, we thought it was so cool.
the reason i mention this is because i have been flooded with memories that i had forgotten about, and i am surprised at the effect it has had on me as i looked through pictures she posted from our old school days. it was warm to walk down memory lane in my mind yet i cant help but feel longing for those days.
i had no worries then except about an upcoming test in school or what i would wear the next day or how i should fix my hair... a simple part of life that i very much took for granted and did not appreciate at all. back then, i couldn't wait to grow up and live my own life and i would feel frustrated at how slowly time would pass. it seemed like high school would never end. what i thought were my biggest problems are piddly and silly to even think about now.
i was madly in love with a boy named Stewart Riley. [before i met my future husband]. we hung out with Sylvie, this girl i re-connected with from face book... and a few other kids.. we'd stay out late after dark during the summer break and play spin the bottle behind Flanders school or make out behind someone's house.
all we did was kiss but it was the sweetest most tender kissing of 2 kids enthralled with each other.. the innocence of my first puppy love.. we would kiss for the longest time until our lips became tender.. and we'd hug for a long time.. it felt SO perfect and right even though i knew in the back of my mind I'd be in big trouble if my mother found out.
then he'd walk me home and I'd go to bed all giggly like the school girl that i was... such innocence is painful to reflect upon. to look back on the naiveté i had hurts from being so sweet, so youthful, and unknowing of the hardships of life that come with growing up. i don't know if i am grieving for the girl i was then, or if it's because i will never feel that way again.
back then, i couldn't even imagine the things i have lived through. back then, i was young and carefree. back then, the world seemed simpler and safer. i was a different person. i was such a young version of myself that i grieve for that girl as she didn't know her self worth at the time. that whole period of my life seems so long ago and i have to check myself because it can feel like it never happened and i was never that girl. but it did and i was.
i look at my kids now, all grown up... and i wonder if they will feel the same.. over the years i have tried to tell them to enjoy different parts of their lives because once it's gone it's gone but it really doesn't hit them as real as i want it to. then i wonder if that's a form of protection in order to survive that age.. cuz if we really knew what awaited us, would we still go bravely forward?
and what makes me different today than the girl i was back then aside from age of course.. it's still me inside, maybe more weathered from the trials and tribulations i have faced, marked by those who have walked along side of me and made a difference in my life one way or another..
i just can not believe i have been alive 54 years- it seems almost unreal as i trace back the years.. i can still remember when i was a toddler in my crib.. which is my very earliest memory. was that really me? and as it sinks in that it was, i feel a sense of mourning and longing for that age, as if i am standing at a distance looking at a little girl that was me.. but i felt so disconnected from.
is that what happens as we grow older? does everything fall into a deeper place of understanding of ourselves, sprinkled with wisdom, and lined with love? well, i think it might. the older i get the more i appreciate my life and the person i was.. and i truly believe that i am who i am because of all i have been through in my life, AND also despite everything i have been through in my life. i used to wonder which of those fit, and now i know they both do. the time span of memories i have in my mind of my 54 years just totally blows me away. it somehow seems unreal..