Elise and I went to Gramma Teel’s to go swimming today, and after two hours of bliss in the pool (the last hour enjoyed along with five of the Teel cousins) Elise decided that she was going to drop her towel and make a beeline to the tire swing in the backyard.
I didn’t realize she was playing on the tire swing until she trotted back to me on the deck, covered from the waist down in mud.
That was cool.
I spent my childhood on the Teel farm. Now that I’m getting older I feel like I am reaching farther and farther back for fewer and fewer memories left of my childhood. Especially of my education! I think I have two from pre-school, two from kindergarten, one from first grade (I kissed Michael on the cheek!), a few from second grade (I broke my arm!) But you get my point. I feel like SCHOOL memories were completely blocked out and replaced by Teel memories.
Swimming. Chasing pigs. Tuna melts. Tractor rides. Bug bites like constellations in the sky, and just as many. The nasty donkey. The doberman named Baron. Papa in his chair, presiding. More and more swimming. Finding the 1600’s cemetery at the edge of the alfalfa field.
Acquiring my first addiction. Oops, I mean falling in love with General Hospital back when Luke still had all his hair and hadn’t yet broken Laura’s heart. Sleepovers in the blue bedroom upstairs, those white lace curtains blowing in the wind. That ridiculous old fashioned toilet in the upstairs bathroom that you flush by pulling the chain from above your head. Making rings of flowers. Making friends. Becoming family. Choosing family. Being chosen.
Here we are, almost thirty years from the first time I set foot on that farm, and my child is getting to enjoy the same summertime pleasures as I did.
I am so happy for her, happy that she gets to enjoy this family like I did, and still do. I feel almost jealous watching her now, diving head first into the deep end, swinging from that same old tree – it makes me feel like this is the best gift I’ve given her so far in life, these simple little joys that I still cherish myself.