Thursday, July 19, 2007

Kool Aid Popsicles and General Hospital

Jerret is always teasing JJ about what a sweet life he has. Babies – or at least the lucky ones – have it made with someone to feed, bathe, and diaper them; someone to hold them when they’re tired, and hug them when they are sad; someone to kiss their boo boos and make the pain disappear with the magic of a band-aid. But it’s not just JJ…being a kid is sweet, period. And being a kid is even better in the summertime.

Watching as the kids in the neighborhood ride their scooters down the middle of the street and share stories while strolling down the sidewalk takes me back to a time when I too had little more to worry about than finding a friend to play outside with, or what teacher I was going to have when school started in September.

I remember the days of Kool-Aid Popsicles made in an ice cube tray and 25-cent lemonade stands to help beat the heat.

I remember begging my mom to call my aunt Charlene and ask if we could come over and swim as they were one of the few lucky enough to have a pool.

I remember staying at Grandma’s house for weeks at a time and watching her sit on the couch peeling potatoes as the theme to General Hospital played in the background, signaling that it was 3:00 and Grandpa was on his way home.

I remember mom making popcorn in a pan on the stove and not even having a microwave.

I remember when it was a treat to go to McDonald’s, and you were even luckier if you were allowed to eat inside!

I remember when visits to the ice cream store were a rare occasion and a vanilla cone with eyes and sprinkles put a smile on everyone’s face.

I remember playing t-ball on a team where we wore matching t-shirts and hats, but jeans rather than baseball pants.

I remember using my own money for buying my new pink and white bicycle.

I remember shopping for school clothes and being cautious enough to know it was NOT OK to spend $50 on a pair of shoes.

I remember swimming at Crane Creek and eating bologna sandwiches for lunch.

I remember when a family vacation was a one-hour drive to Cedar Point and one night in a hotel room.

I remember dad taking us to by kites in the spring and flying them at the park on Sunday afternoons.

I sometimes wonder if kids today are too spoiled. When did it stop being a privilege to get a new toy or outfit, or to have dinner in a restaurant? When did it become complacent for us to roboticly answer “yes” when our little ones shouted “Can I have some gum?” in the check-out line of the grocery store.

I will do my best to give JJ some of the best times of his life. I will do my best to give him memories that he will always remember because they were special times and not the norm. I will show him how to put a playing card in the spokes of his bike to make it sound like a motorcycle. I will teach him how to put his napkin in his lap while he eats and order from the waitress himself. I will give him an allowance and teach him to work for the things he wants or thinks he needs.

He will know, as I did, that mom will always be there to reel him back in if he ever gets too demanding and Grandma is there to spoil him just a little at the right times.

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