Awakened: Reliving My Childhood

The moment my kids began to explore their surroundings, I began to see the world clearly. Like seeing through much-needed eyeglasses for the first time or a dirty window wiped clean, my view finally came into focus.

Maybe I just hadn’t noticed the details in all the years since I was the young one running around barefoot chasing fireflies, sifting dirt between outstretched fingers in search of writhing earthworms, or staring in wonder at a line of ants marching like soldiers across the driveway.

Maybe as a child I never saw baby birds learn to fly. Witnessing this as an adult, I sat in the same wide-eyed wonder as my kids watching fluffy black pom-poms bounce through the grass, chirping at their mother. One by one, they flapped their wings and took off to the branch above. I couldn’t help but wonder if I were a child with no mother making me watch, would I? Were there better things to do? Is this why I missed so much as a child?

I take my time now, no rushing about. Before I had kids, I didn’t know much about outer space. No one asked me about Mars and evidence of water there, so I didn’t need to know. Now my spirit fills with wonder in a slightly different way than my son’s must when he looks at the sky and wonders whether spaceships full of Stormtroopers dart overhead.

A snail edges along a crack in our driveway and my husband could tell me for the tenth time to come in for the night. This creature hefts its top-heavy spiral shell to the side to make great strides, grasping bits of straw with its foot. I could watch it all night.land snail

A snow day from work used to mean housework, maybe a movie. Now it means bundling up in triple layers and heading outside before caffeine pulses through blood, our breath a blanket of fog as we pull sleds down the path looking for signs of deer. We make the first footprints in silvery snow that is like a fresh sheet of paper, ours to write the story of our day. I make sure to take turns on the sled too. The kids can’t have all the fun. I’m pretty sure I scream the loudest, slide the farthest.

I wedge myself in too-tight spots like a crayfish under a rock because hide-and-seek has tough rules in this house. On the field, I throw like Tim Tebow half the time, but the other half I am Drew Brees, throwing spirals 30 yards to a four-foot receiver who always makes it to the end zone.

Storytime started as a way to read to the kids but I look forward to it with such anticipation that I am the child most of the time, hearing books I never cared about when I was younger. Oh, I love that Laura Ingalls. And Bilbo Baggins, why did I shun you?

I don’t remember seeing the world through a child’s eyes all those years ago. I was so focused then on everything but. Having children to show the world to has opened up a universe of excitement, beauty, and joy to me that melted away during my 9-to-5 days sitting behind a desk.

Now that I have kids, I have an excuse to enjoy my childhood again. It’s like staying up late with your best friend, sneaking Skittles from the candy jar, and telling secrets about your brother—the best time of your life.

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27 Comments

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27 responses to “Awakened: Reliving My Childhood

  1. This is so much how I feel tooooooo!

  2. What a beautifully written post. I was just thinking the other day how I’m going to hate going back to work full time sitting behind a desk from 9-5. How incredibly boring! Now, I get to enjoy the world with my boys. Spending money on children’s books (which I love) is much better than spending it on uncomfortable work clothes.

  3. I love this so much! I think this may be part of the logic behind the phrase, “Kids keep you feeling young.” ❤

  4. I feel the same way! I had forgotten little things like what fun glow bracelets are and how awesomely gross the insides of a pumpkin feels. Great post!

  5. lisa

    Christmas and snow are the two biggies for me that having kids has made fun again.

    • Those are some of the bigger ones, but there are tons of everyday moments that used to slip by. Not sure I would have ever bought bright pink gnome pajamas before, ya know? Or gone in search of the perfect red mushroom that looks just like a gnome home. Or tried jelly beans that could or could not taste like snot. (They did.)

  6. Jonesingafter40

    This was a lovely, lovely post.

  7. Truly one of the unexpected pleasures of parenting is getting to live through childhood all over again…beautiful post.

  8. I agree with you, I’m enjoying my childhood over again; cartoons and playing with toys with my two year old. Sometimes this makes me feel like a child again. 🙂 My daughter enjoys it when I give every toy we’re playing with a sound effect.

    I think when I became a parent, things changed. I changed. I started to see things differently. I started seeing things on a motherly level. I think I am now having the time of my life.

  9. The Yogic Housewife

    Love this. I do sometimes get disappointed when my kids aren’t quite as excited by the pounding rain or new cherry blossoms as I am but I am just noticing their beauty for the first time and to them the whole world contains such beauty still. Great post x

  10. You really write beautifullly! This is a fabulous post.

  11. You write how I feel but can never put into words. Fantastic piece, as usual, Karen. I’m particularly happy to see you capturing the mini-world with your camera. So much fun seeing things through a kids’ eye, isn’t it? I like it when they verbally remind me not to be “so grown up.” It’s my check that I’m taking life way too seriously when really the best thing at the time is just to scream and speed down that hill.

    • Thanks, Shannon. Took me a long time to get that snail. Good thing snails are slow.

      Yeah, kids are just like that. Sometimes instead of rolling my eyes because I’ve heard “last one up is a rotten egg” a million times, I just race them to the top. Sometimes, in all honesty, that really was a burp worth celebrating. I mean, that’s a wonder in itself if you think about it. 😉

  12. What a thoughtful, beautifully written post. Amen to reliving our childhoods again through our children. I feel similarly about having time now to learn and experience things with my kids, some for the first time. What a wonderful mother you are! Thank you for reminding me to focus on these special moments for my children, but equally importantly, for myself. Well done!

  13. Go you. I am going to try to emulate a bit. I think i do a pretty good job of appreciating but you’ve made me realize, i don’t. 🙂

  14. Maria Cooks!

    What a fantastic post! This is really why I look forward to my son growing up, rather than wishing he were a newborn again.

  15. How beautiful!! A joy to read, and the very reason why I teach… sometimes I wonder if I fill my life with little people, just so I can hold onto my own far-gone childhood with both hands. Children are the dearest of companions, aren’t they? 😉 Life is so much lovelier when you remember to see it through their eyes.

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