I remember certain aspects of childhood (legos, frozen otter pops, my first Barbie) and I remember certain moments of my childhood. (taking piano lessons, watching my little sister be born, helping my dad with the burn piles on the ranch) but the general feeling of actually BEING a child…? Nope.
I was at a birthday party on Saturday night for a three year old. It was the classic sort of birthday party… balloons, cardboard hats, pizza and it was fun to be on the “adult” side of things drinking cheap red wine, talking about everything from politics to embarrassing college stories, and watching the children play.
And boy did those kids know how to play. There was the tickling the daddy, the uncle, the sibling, etc game. There was the playing with the new toys game. But the best game of all was the running around in circles game.
I guess it was just a matter of time before the excitement of the day, the sugar from the sodas and the birthday cake, and the thrill of being let loose took hold and led to the running. Still, it was adorable to watch.
At one point it looked like the birthday girl herself was being chassed, brand new stuffed beaver clutched to her chest she scampered past us screeching and giggling. A few moments later her brother and cousin came careening around the corner also screeching and giggling. It took me a second to realize they were on a loop… they just kept coming around and around and around until it was impossible to know who was chasing whom or why.
They ran and laughed with total abandon. Secure that the game was going to continue. Secure that the adults nearby would be there in case of a scrapped knee or a scary “POP!!” of a balloon. They ran and laughed and it didn’t matter who was chasing whom or why. The thrill was in the movement, the chase itself, the whole fun filled game of it all.
I don’t remember that feeling exactly. I don’t even know if it would be possible to after doing the whole growing up part of life. And even though there is a tinge of sadness in the adage that “youth is wasted on the young,” I am fine with that.
Because, I got to watch them experience it even if they didn’t know how fleeting it all is or how precious it all is or how lucky they all were.
I felt pretty damn lucky to have been there, to have been there in both ways.
And unlike the birthday girl, I got to stay up late.