Taking a trip back to simpler times
I would like to trade my adult ticket in for a trip back to my childhood please.
My summer has been anything but living easy. If anything, my days have become busier over the past few months. At work the design team is gearing up for football season, our publications are in full swing, and we have a lot of tight deadlines.
On the motherhood front I’m forcing my children to keep up with summer reading. I’m trying to remember to make the pre-school year eye and dental appointments. I’m gearing up for fall sports, and I’m trying to square away childcare. I am basically just trying to get my ducks in a row before the school year starts. And, as every other mother on this earth dinner must be made, the house must be kept somewhat clean, and I am managing laundry for five people. It all just feels unfair.
I just want to be a kid. Becoming an adult happens so quickly… so fast it should be illegal.
If I was able to go back in time and relive a day as a child, I would hop on my bike and ride back in time to 1992. That would make me approximately 10 years old. I want to go back to a time before technology so I could fully embrace being present in every single boring moment I might encounter that day. I would also want to be young enough that the pressure of adolescent emotion didn’t consume me. No leap back in time to 13 years old could make being an awkward teenager easier. So, let’s go with being 10 in 1992.
I know I would be rocking my teal and white FILA high top sneakers, a tie-dyed T-shirt, and severely acid washed frayed shorts, they were my favorite. My hair was permed and pulled half up, and makeup wasn’t even a thought in my mind at that time. Being 10 years old was pretty good from what I remember. I would give anything to be pushed outside to play for a few hours. I would hop from friend’s house to friend’s house. We would typically form a group and play tag or throw around a baseball or ride bikes which filled up most of my day. If you were tired you would just take five minutes to drink from the garden hose to quench your thirst. After that water break, I would forget how hot I was and just indulge in endless play. There were no massive worries, just concern over the darkening sky and being called in for dinner. That was quite possibly the hardest part of the day.
After being called into dinner I would promptly wash up and sit down. My Mom always prepared amazing meals. I think my favorite at that age was chicken cutlets, Velveeta macaroni and cheese, and broccoli. Usually dessert followed our homecooked meals, if we were lucky, it was ice cream, but it could easily be Keebler Elf fudge sandwiches as well. After we were done eating, we helped clear the table and head up upstairs for our nighttime bath.
Those baths were the best, I would literally pour a half a bottle of Mr. Bubble in the tub and politely pretend it was accidental. I knew what I was doing, I was living my best life. When you’re that small the tub feels like a pool, and I would close my eyes and pretend to be Ariel The Little Mermaid and sing in there until my mother would come in to get me. The line she always seemed to use would be, “You’re going to turn into a prune if you stay in there any longer.” So, I would jump out promptly to an open towel held by the hands of my mother who would wrap me up tight and send me to my room to be dressed. I would brush my teeth after I was dressed and sneak down for about an hour of TV or so before I was sent to bed. The TV shows were never specifically geared toward children. It was usually “Tooltime” or “Quantum Leap.” If the boredom of those shows didn’t tire us out to fall asleep on the couch, we would be tucked in no later than 8 p.m. Lights out, teddy in tow and the smell of snuggle dryer sheets would lull me to sleep.
But those days feeling safe as a child are gone, and they truly cannot go on forever, but I wish some of the moments could. If anything, that little trip down memory lane reminded me that those memories and meals were created by a very tired mother who was doing her best. I am too at this point. Luckily with the help of my husband and the safety net of friends I can at least joke about it and find humor in the embarrassing things that happen at doctors’ appointments or visits to the store. We are now the memory makers and the safety nets. I’m just hoping that when I get to the third stage of life my kids will remember how much I loved them and they will change my adult diapers and not put me in a home.
Loraine Griffiths is a fifth-generation Hammontonian, graphic designer, wife and mother of three. She can be reached through email at LifeWithLoraine@gmail.com.