Before we moved out onto the farm with my grandpa, Mom and I lived across the street from my grade school. This was great because I could sleep in and walk to class. Most days, I would write notes excusing me at lunchtime so I could walk home and watch Reading Rainbow. I was a latch-key kid. I knew how to cook mac and cheese with hot dogs, peanut butter tortillas, sandwiches with butter and chocolate chips (so gross). I turned our basement into Oblina's Cafe from Aahhh! Real Monsters. Our house was yellow. I woke up early to watch the music videos on CMT. I had a filing cabinet full of notebooks. Imaginary boyfriend named Edgar. I spied on my neighbors. Super into collections (stamps, trolls, composition books). I was the original Titanic fangirl (it came out on my 7th birthday so fandom was in the stars.)
Dad came for visitation on Tuesday nights. We would go to the buffet at Pizza Hut, the library for homework, and then the batting cages or putt putt golfing. During the hot months we would get blue slushies from Dairy Queen at the end of the night. Every other weekend I'd spend with him and my stepmom Carolyn in Decatur, where everything was marinated in soy stink.
Revisiting all this is comforting. Doesn't everybody feel that compulsion to rehash past memories over and over again? Why do we do it? I guess because nostalgia is affirming and grounding. None of us can go back to those honey years and that longing connects us. And so we swap stories between us like baseball cards.
Of course there were some shitty elements of those years too, because it was life in real-time just like right now. I get that I'm viewing it through a very romantic and forgiving lens because distance puts a filter on things.
And anyway, I like the woman I am now. But I do think there's merit in trying to be the kind of adult that the kid version of you would approve of. I think Kid Me would think Grown Me is cool. I've just been thinking a lot about my true north, I guess. That and I am feeling that weird springtime remembering. Sometimes I just want to call it back-- my old bedroom, back yard, Y2K fever. Like my remembering invigorates those years, inflates them again, where it still exists in some parallel universe. At the very least, I feel like I should at least type it all down now, in case one day I can't remember, or I can, but it hurts too much because it's too far away.