I took fifteen minutes to write down all the things that I could remember that I loved as a child (3-12 years old.)
Here is part of the list and some notes that I went back and filled in of the specific thing that I loved:
Cotton candy – being given a special treat that was messy and fun to eat
Music – happy memories of car rides, singing songs, always having music to listen to
Television – getting up early to watch cartoons on Saturday morning
Movies – going with my parents
Camping – trips with my parents
Driving – long car rides with parents
Dancing – moving to music
Walking on the beach with my Dad, feeling free and getting his full attention
Getting donuts with Dad – special Dad and me time
Going to church – the feeling of peace and hope that I get when I am there
Singing at church – it’s the only place I feel comfortable singing out loud in front of others and it makes me think of my Dad singing at church
Praying – strong feelings of faith, hope and peace
Playing – playing alone with toys and making believe to pass the time
Making mud pies – being told to go outside and play
Gardening – special time with Dad, time in the backyard
Watering the lawn – being given a responsibility, fun on hot days
Going for walks – always fun with parents, it was exercise and relaxing
Taking pictures – capturing images of things I want to remember
Cutting flowers – on nature walks, just because they are so pretty
Having fresh flowers
Crafts – art projects, painting, working with my hands, creating things that last
Writing – putting my thoughts on paper, using ink and pen on paper, using my hands, expressing myself
Hugs and kisses – being affectionate, showing and being shown physical love
Writing letters – correspondence, expressing self
Getting post cards – getting attention, exploring the world outside of myself
Seeing rainbows – little miracles of color
Counting stars – little miracles of light
Wishing on a star – reminders of hope
Seeing shooting stars – memories of hot summer nights
Seeing the sunset – always a treat
The sunrise – a new day rises every day
Fishing – trying to learn something that my Daddy wanted to teach me
Hiking – being outdoors
Campfires – being with family
Easter Bunny – childhood fun
Santa Calus – special memories, being spoiled, believing in magic
Parties – celebrations were always going on at home
Playing games with my parents – being included in things the adults were doing
Roses and Nana’s garden
Auntie Bessie’s oatmeal cookies, tortillas, sopapillas, empanadas
Visiting Auntie Beni in San Diego
I asked myself – in what ways can I add to my life more of what used to give me joy and what still can?
I can embrace a youthful attitude and remind myself of the things that brought me joy as a child that still do to this day. I can reintroduce the simple traditions that I enjoyed with my parents into my daily life. I can go on walks and nature hikes, walks on the beach, and long drives to visit friends and family. I can garden and cut fresh flowers. I can take pictures and capture images of things I want to remember. I can make things for the joy of using my hands and creating something that will last. I can sing out, hum, and whistle joyfully in praise and just for fun. I can make the holidays and celebrations special by doing special things for my loved ones.
I thought about – what is one specific change in my life I can easily make so that I can bask in the kind of joy children savor?
I can get outside more and enjoy nature. Not just in the summer. I can go on walks and really make an effort to spend time in the yard. I can go to church, pray, and sing embracing my spirituality.
Above is a picture of me with my Mom. I was four years old. I remember this day perfectly. I was so glad when I found this picture because I had been thinking about it being one of my earliest memories. I hated this picture when I was a kid because I am crying and licking my tears. But now I love it!
I was with my parents at my Dad’s company picnic. It was a hot summer day. There were games for the kids and I was in a sack race. I won a prize. When my Mom took me to get the prize, a clown stopped us to take a picture. I burst out in tears. I was afraid of clowns, and this one in particular had squirted with me with water from a toy camera earlier in the day. My Mom was laughing and trying to get me to stop crying for this picture. I was terrified and couldn’t explain why. Plus I was oddly interested in the taste of my own tears. I remember the soft material of the jumper that I was wearing that day and how it was my favorite. I remember my Mom holding me and me clinging to her for dear life. I remember being glad I won the prize and how mad I was at that clown.
Now when I look at this picture, I see my Mom’s smile and I feel how much she loved me and cared for me. I realize that I am about the same age now that she was in the picture. I can’t imagine having a little girl now! How did she do it?