Tuesday, June 15, 2010
When I was growing up things were weird. Things were not normal - in the sense that I am still not sure at 35 what normal is supposed to be. I bounced around from family member to family member for reasons that I still don't understand completely and at this point in my life really no longer matter. Everyone has to arrive at a point in their lives where you stop looking for reasons or excuses and just agree to exist with your history. At the end of the day all things that I experienced are a major factor in where I have arrived at today - good, bad or indifferent. I have spent far too much time in my life looking for reasons and explanations that I have found that I have lost touch with all of the extra love and care that I received as a result of those things. I am eternally grateful for all the people in my life that have looked after me and cared for me when it was not their responsibility or duty to do so. I know now that those people are good, so amazingly good and warm and hold such dear and warm places in my heart and history and all the good parts of me are because of those people. You who may be reading this now - and you know who you are - I thank you with all of the words that I can and cannot find. You constantly amaze me and I love you with all that I ever will have.
Being able to be home with my beautiful children this summer has made me reflect on some of the amazing summers that I have experienced growing up with family in Illinois.
I shared many summers with my Aunt Susan and her family. There were great times spent in the backyard for all hours of the day. I got to pretend to be "grown" with her daughters the youngest of which is four years older than me. I enjoyed hearing them talk about boys and high school and all of the trials and gossip that came with that. I remember Sunday dinners consisting of beef and noodles. Without fail, every Sunday, it was such a treat.
I also spent a few summer with my Aunt Eileen and my cousin Jennifer and later Ashley. Jennifer and I always had a great time - though she may disagree. I was often around my older cousins, so being around Jenny who is about 4 years younger than me was my time to be "bossy". I think I turned out being pretty good at it. Poor Jenny. We spent a lot of time at the public pool in Pekin. I remember the pinnacle of those trips was getting a frozen Charleston Chew from the "bar". I also was with Jenny when I found my first crush, Tim. I think that he lived next door to my Aunt and cousin in their apartment complex in Pekin. It was right across from the river and there were a few times that me and Jenny would go with the boys to "fish" for minnows. I learned my first lesson in the backwards moves of boys, when Tim pushed me into the water on one such trip. I was so embarrassed and hurt and remember crying to my Aunt about it. "I thought he liked me and he pushed me in the water!". Through tears she was the first to teach me about boys - , "That proves that he does like you, Terri!". Still seems so silly to me.
Of my most fond memories were the trips to my Aunt Sarah's home. Throughout my childhood she always held such magic about her. Her home was an old farmhouse and they had a barn. This wasn't a working farm, but I always loved the rustic atmosphere and the imagination that place brought to mind every time I visited. There were many afternoons spent playing Olympic games on the computer which was terribly fancy for the time. I had such good times with my cousins Kathy and Chris. I so looked up to Kathy and wanted to grow up and be just like her. I think she was the first person that introduced me to Wham!. We would listen at nighttime on headphones. Such great memories. She had a wonderful collection of collectible horses proudly displayed in her room and I would stare at them in amazement and wish for my own collection someday. She was smart, funny and so creative. Everything that I wanted to be. I would secretly wish on dandelions that she could be my sister and that I would wake up in the morning and it would be so.
There was one summer where my cousin Jenny joined us and all of us kids put on a carnival. We had an art display and my Aunt and Uncle came in and bought our works of art for a nickel. We came up with carnival games and had made up prizes.
The best ever was the Olympics. My Aunt and Uncle set up our own Summer Olympics. We even made gold. silver and bronze medals from cardboard. We had foot races and archery competitions - all things that could be found in the Summer Olympics. It was amazing and my limited vocabulary could never do it justice.
All of these memories have been etched in my mind. These things and the people that helped to create them have made me want to give those kinds of memories to my own children. I want them to know that no matter where you have been or where you end up that there was love and fun, even if it existed amongst some hardships. Isn't that what life is all about? The ability to find the beauty in the small details, the joy and the childish wonder.
The baton has been passed and it is now my duty to wrap my own children with love and amaze them with the creativity, wisdom and love that has been passed down from these amazing Tasker women. I can only hope that one day that their faces light up when retelling stories of their childhood the same way that mine does.
Life is all about the details you choose to cling to. Thank you for creating those details for me!!