Thursday, February 24, 2011

Favorite Things

I have to stop myself sometimes. From the consumerism. From buying this little person everything out there. Right now he doesn't even care. He starts getting into zippers and buttons and I think, Oh! I could go get one of those dog toys with zippers and buttons! While he is content to play with the ones on my shirt. He loves my car keys...and I think, Oh! I could buy him that set of car keys for babies I saw at Target! While I can also just detach the key I need from its ring and give him the rest to play with. I love showing him new things though, I love blowing his mind. The first time we bounced a ball in front of him he wouldn't stop giggling...I would do most anything to make him giggle like that over and over again. And I have to stop and think, that buying him everything isn't what's going to make him happy. Buying him everything now may set a precedent that my pocketbook can't keep up with once he's into Xboxes and Hockey.

But I also stopped to think about my childhood. About the things that stuck with me. The things that made me the happiest. And mostly it wasn't things. It was my parents tucking me into bed every night and kissing us goodnight. The way they used to make the blankets fly up above us, and make us laugh right before going to sleep. Sunday mornings climbing into my parents bed with the newspaper and reading the funnies, all 5 of us up there, plus the cat (and - is that even going to happen anymore? Everyone climbing in bed to read the kindle doesn't sound as great as spreading the paper all over the bed. I'm mourning the downturn of the paper). Making pillow forts out of the couch cushions. Roughhousing. Trips to the Y with my dad, swimming, basketball, and exploring...and always the smell of spilled coffee in his car. Baking cookies and pretending we were in the batter. Licking the spoon. Shopping with my mom. Summer trips to Valleyfair, and we always had a picnic lunch in the back of the car. Swimming pools in the backyard. Those twilight summer games that would spontaneously happen with the neighbor kids - kick the can, red rover, some ghost game. Playing in the woods - god we loved to play in the woods. We played so hard sometimes! Building snow forts. Sledding, and coming in for hot chocolate. Fires in the fireplace and telling ghost stories. Sitting in the gutter and letting the water stream over our backs when it rained (we lived in a cul-de-sac, there was no traffic - don't judge!). Summer weekends at the cabin, and smells are such a huge part of my memory, I can literally taste the grass and sunscreen while I'm writing this. Bonfires at the cabin. Mom making pancakes for breakfast. Driving home from any holiday at my grandparents. I will never feel as safe and secure as I used to feel falling asleep in the car coming home from a holiday. There is an unmatched exhaustion after playing with your cousins and gorging yourself on food, and an unmatched sense of security experienced in the presence of your parents as a child. I will probably never feel that secure, and never sleep that well again. Too many adult worries and responsibilities. And you don't appreciate that while you have it, if you knew how little control and security your parents really had over the world, you wouldn't have it anyways.

And oh! How I hope I can afford these things for my son! How I hope I can give him half of the security and contentment that my parents gave me.

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