We went to the park this evening. It was a busy weekend, finishing up today with a cousin’s baptism and dinner out (read: trying to contain a two year old at church, then for two hours at a restaurant) and we thought he could use some fresh air and exploring time before bedtime.
We went to a nearby park which also happens to be the one a few houses down from the one I grew up in. It’s full of childhood memories and whispers of the past – something I’ve been thinking about lately, mostly, how I feel about living in the same neighbourhood I grew up in. I had a nice childhood and wouldn’t change it, but I feel a bit trapped or stuck in time for some reason.
I know things won’t be the same for my little boy as they were for me, that he may not be out on a bike or in a tree, off with neighbourhood pals til the dinnertime whistle shills down the street, but I want him to have a wonderful childhood too, with friends to play with and keep close. Is it boring to still live right in the place you grew up, for your kid to go to the same schools you did, repeating the same things? I guess I wonder if we should make a change, try to move into a spot with more young families and settle down a bit more.
He played hide and seek with us, and went on the slide, climbed and exclaimed and poked things with sticks. I took a moment and hopped on one of the swings. I swung higher and higher, thinking about the hundreds of time I’d swung in that exact same spot before, years ago, and then realized I don’t like the sensation at all anymore – I felt a bit queasy as the air whooshed past – so I got off.
It reminded me of how much I’ve changed, that although all these memories and things that make me up as a person are special, my own child will have his own memories and happy times, even if we have placed him in the same spot I was in. He’s growing up in a different world with different people and he’s surrounded but love so I’m confident he’ll one day look back and savour his own memories, whatever and where ever that turns out to be.
After a bath, books and finally tucking a sleepy boy into his bed, I got a call from my aunt in Winnipeg asking if I’d zip over to check up on my grandparents – no one had heard from them in a couple of days and the phone was constantly busy. I did just that – bringing my trusty little guard dog to prowl around Bayshore with me – and when I arrived, knocking on the back door at 10pm, they were inside, just happy to see us, and we tried to figure out what was up with the phones.
Driving home then, in the dark, with a misty slice of moon softly shining above and the silence all around, I thought that they’ve achieved such a great thing – the ability to be happy in a life well led. They go to doctors appointments and buy groceries, take the bus and smile at strangers, and in the evening they contentedly watch TV, play cards or read. Having seen so much, lost so many and now just being able to enjoy being comfortable with no pretense – it’s amazing.
They don’t care that they’ve done the same things over and over – they had adventure and traveled, there were children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, messy mealtimes, funny stories. Routine and predictable things are good now, and they can remember the past but also just simply enjoy the present moment. There’s no worry or doubt or wondering about what to do. Now is good enough, whether you live in the same place year after year and do the same thing again and again. They’re happy, and I am too.