WHEN I WAS A CHILD….
Wendy and I were having a late breakfast, talking about old memories, going back to when our mom’s began to go to work.
Ah…memories. Funny things, memories.
We have so many.
Or, do we?
Think back to some of your earliest memories.
The earliest for me are really little more than very brief videos.
Summer, 1955. I’m sitting by a pool in someone’s back yard. There is an inflatable horse beside me at the edge of the pool. I imagine myself riding that horse around the pool. I climb on, the horse rolls, I go into the water…….When my mom arrives to pick me up, I tell her, “Mommy, I drownded.”
Summer, 1957. First day of swimming lessons at Garland Central Park pool. Grey haired lady in black one piece swimsuit with a Red Cross patch teaches me to hold my breath, open my eyes under water. Just like the pamphlet.
November, 1955. I’m sitting in my brand new red fire truck, imagining myself zipping down the sidewalk. I can’t make it move…I don’t have the strength to pedal.
November, 1955. I’m at the doctor’s office. “Randy can’t pedal his fire truck,” my mom tells him. We take a bottle of iron in liquid form home. I still remember the taste.
Fall, 1955. At my friend Pat’s house, several kids and I are sitting in front of a television, watching a show called Romper Room.
Later, 1956. I am driving my fire truck down the sidewalk. I stop, look up at the men installing an antenna on top of our house.
Summer, 1958. My first trip to the old library in downtown Garland, Texas. Tall shelves, wonderful musty smell. I knew how to read even though I hadn’t started school, and I was able to take some books home with me.
December, 1959. At Monica Park Christian Church, “The Hanging of the Greens.” We had been eating snacks and making decorations. I’m walking on the sidewalk, my stomach flutters, I know I’m about to throw up, I bend over, see my good shoes, and, with every vomitous blast from my mouth, I slide backwards so I will not get my shoes dirty. Three times in a row.
So many questions you could ask me.
Who had a swimming pool?
What were you doing there without your mom?
How did you get there?
Who pulled you out of the pool?
Who else was there?
Whose idea was it for you to take swimming lessons?
Who was Pat?
What other kids were there?
How long before you could pedal your fire truck?
What color was the iron in liquid form? (I know this one. Brown)
What books did you take home?
Who taught you to read?
Were you at church by yourself, or was your family there?
You know something else I don’t remember?
My mom didn’t go to work until my little brother was four. I was nine.
I can’t remember what nine years of home life was like waking up with mom there every single day.
I could answer some of the questions now, but not because I remember.
The memories get burned in in moments of our lives, traumatic, wonderful, scary moments that sear themselves into the wrinkles in our brains.
Tiny little moments that add flavor and experience to an otherwise mundane day to day sameness that we don’t remember.
But there, in the mundane day to day existence was someone who made sure I didn’t live to fear the water, to miss the chance to pedal my fire truck, who made sure I would be able to read by the time I started school.
Someone who saw each little trauma, each little joy, each new experience as a chance for me to grow, to become a man.
When I became a man, I began to put away childish things.
But the memories of moments still happen in the same way now, with traumatic, wonderful and life changing instances.
And there is One in the background, moving through my mundane day to day sameness, shaping each memorable moment into forming me into the man He planned for me to become.
And these memories….they still pop into my mind and help me see the One who guides me through.