I took a drive around my city tonight. I’ve lived here my whole life and I feel like I’ve never really taken a drive just to drive. To actually look at the city in which I grew up. To take a trip down memory lane.
So I did that. I drove just to drive. Passed my elementary school, middle school, and high school. Passed the soccer fields I grew up playing at. Passed the house that I spent most of my childhood living in. And I realized that there are so, so many places that hold memories for me. The different places I would ride bikes or go for walks with friends. The block that we walked down every morning to get to the bus stop in elementary school. I can remember which cracks in that sidewalk are just uneven enough that you would be able to trip on them. The morning that German Shepherd jumped over the fence and just about attacked us. There are so many memories in that neighborhood I grew up in. Playing football and soccer through three different backyards. So many summer nights of capture the flag and kick the can. The friends that lived close enough to walk over whenever to ask if you could come outside and play. Before cellphones and the internet were such a big part of our lives. When all we had was each other and our bikes.
There are so many times when I long to have those days back. To go back to when life was simple. To go back to being a kid who’s biggest responsibilities were to keep my room clean and to eat my vegetables. To go back to being that innocent little kid who’s biggest fear was the monsters under the bed.
When you’re a kid, all you want is to grow up. To be able to feel the freedom of being older. To outgrow your bedtime. You want to be able to drive and get a job and graduate high school. To be able to make your own rules. And even then, when you get to that point. When you get to the point where you’re the adult you’ve been waiting to be, there are times when you would give anything to be able to hide under the comfort of your parents rules. To go back to being that innocent little kid who had absolutely no idea how scary this world could be.
So slow down, because this part of your life will be over before you know it.
You don’t expect time to go by so fast. You don’t expect life to hit you so hard. And when you realize that you’ve grown up. That you’re not that innocent little kid anymore. It can just about break your heart.
So today, my parents told me and my brothers that they wanted to go for a walk. All of us together. It’s the last day of “nice” weather for the next week or so. And yeah, I would call mid-40’s in January in Wisconsin nice weather, but it’s supposed to get down to single digits tomorrow so they wanted to take advantage of this nice weather. Completely understandable. To me at least.
My brothers and I tend to spend a lot of time in our rooms working on music and school stuff or whatever else is going on at the time, so we don’t all hang out as much as I think we should. Although recently, I have been making an effort to hang out with my family more. The past two years or so, the importance of family has begun to sink in more and more. I’m sure graduating high school has something to do with that, life has changed so much the past two years. Family seems to be the one thing that’s constant. The one thing that’s always there and is always going to be there no matter what. These are the people I’ve known my entire life. The people who know me and my strangeness and who’s strangeness I hold so dear. The people who I adore so incredibly much.
Since graduating high school, I have come to realize how important family is. How much my family means to me and how much they have done for me and how they have helped me grow into the person I am today. So when my brothers were so reluctant to take a half hour out of their day to take a walk with the fam, it got to me. It frustrates me that they can’t see how incredible our family is and how lucky we are to have parents that want to go on a walk with us and spend time with us. How incredibly lucky we are to have parents who are active in our lives. I know that when I was their ages, I would have reacted the same exact way, not wanting to leave whatever unimportant thing I was doing to spend time with my parents and brothers, but I just pray that they realize how important family time is. One day we’re going to wish that we could go on a “family walk” as my dad called it. We’re going to wish that we could have more time to spend with each other.
I guess it comes with growing up. And I know that I have a lot more growing up to do. But if there’s one thing that I’ve come to understand completely since graduation, it’s that friends will come and go, but family is forever. No matter what.