The faint chirping of birds whistled through the neighborhood as the sun rose from the horizon. As the morning dew dressed the palm trees, a gentle breeze peacefully entered the room. My eyes began to open, and my mind immediately raced with all the possibilities that the day could hold. Before my parents could stop me, I was already out the door knocking on my neighbor’s front door. It would be a few minutes until I heard the sound of footsteps running down the stairs. My neighbor opened the door with the same look of determination in her eyes. Immediately, we ran to my backyard, climbed into our treehouse, and started planning the day. We could play our favorite games on our Nintendo DSs or Wiis or hide from passing by cars in our original game, car alert; maybe add to our extensive collection of the dessert and snack clubs. Struggling to make a decision, we slid out of the treehouse, down the slide, grabbed our scooters, and rode down the street to another friend’s house. We sat patiently in their front yard, watching the sprinklers coat the grass in a blanket of mist and the occasional hummingbird flying by. After what felt like hours of waiting, our hearts raced as we heard the door open and saw our friend running towards us. We would settle on playing a game of M.A.S.H, laughing at all the strange futures we predicted.
As the day went on, the summer sun unleashed its heat upon us. Too hot for any physical activity, we wondered where the fate of our perfect day might lay. Like an answer to our prayers, outside ran our older siblings, hidden in their arms the vibrant color of water balloons. It was not long before the street was filled with joyful screams, the spray of hoses, and the splashing of water balloons. With our arsenal of water balloons running dry, we each retreated, drenched, to our houses. Faster than the sun could dry the puddles off the ground, we would be back outside with fresh clothes ready for the next game. Eventually, the world around us became quiet as each streetlight lit, and a flock of geese flew across the amber sky. A gentle voice broke the silence calling each of us home for dinner. We would say our goodbyes and rush home to the warm family dinner awaiting us. As I lay in bed, I wondered about what adventures would the next day hold and slowly drifted off to sleep.
Suddenly, the sound of an alarm clock pierced through the quiet stillness of the morning. I grabbed my phone and shut off the alarm to see that it was 6:30 am in the morning. The calendar read August 15, 2019. It is the first day of my senior year of high school. Dressed, I run downstairs, grab my coffee, and hop into the car. I drive down the streets where I learned how to ride a bike and the houses where I once thought my friends would live forever. I go from class to class taking in as much information as I can, running from meeting to meeting, and then spend the rest of the evening finishing the last of my homework and then go to bed to repeat it all the next day. Although I miss it greatly, I now realize that I have not lost my daily adventures or freedom, but the way I experience those moments has changed. The tear-filled laughs I experienced playing with my neighbors I now experience getting coffee after school or going to live music with friends. I have learned that our childhood is not something that leaves us as soon as we reach a certain age, but just in the same way we grow and change as people, our childhood grows with us. Although adulthood is commonly associated with leaving puerile behaviors and activities behind, if we abandoned it all, we would lose what makes us who we are today. Knowing this, instead of having a nostalgic or longing view of my childhood, I thank it for all the memories and lessons that it has given me.
Photo Credits: Rene Bernal on Unsplash