Sunday evening I sat in a lawn chair around the dying embers of a fire. A marshmallow roasted while The May Queen and one of the girls from next door raced around the backyard making bat noises and insisting that I pretend they were wearing all black and I couldn't see them. "My, it sounds like there are lots of bats out here," I said.
A lamp glowed through the back windows and I looked inside to my living room, at the blankets tossed over the chair and the pictures above the couch, slightly askew. It felt as if I was peeking in a window at our lives. I wondered what it will be that The May Queen thinks of, when she is older and peeking back through the windows of time, as her fondest childhood memories. Will it be swooping and screeching through the dark night? Spinning herself silly on the creaky swing set? Watching the hummingbirds, and cheering them on? Endless games of Sorry at the kitchen table?
What will be the things that remind her of home? Will it be the smell of chai tea, like I drank every morning while I packed her lunchbox? Will it be a string of white Christmas lights, like the ones on our porch that we turned on whenever we ate dinner outside, accompanied by the singing of frogs in the "bog?" Will it be cluttered counter tops or colorful walls or a refrigerator covered with pictures?
Will she remember her home as nurturing and welcoming, or chaotic and unsettled? Will her strongest memories be of fun times with her family and neighbors, or the loneliness of being an only child?
I can't control her memories, of course. If I could I would sear the backyard picnics into her brain and erase the memory of the light that I accidentally knocked onto her head, cutting it open. But I can purposely create more opportunities for good memories. I can say yes more often to climbing the tree and no more often to the television. I can create an environment inour house that will, hopefully, one day be remembered as a place called home. A place where we laughed, we played, we sang, we created, we loved.
What are your strongest or fondest memories of your home and growing up? What triggers take you back?