When I Was A Little Kid
When I was a little kid, I thought I could grow up to be anything I wanted. This included a mermaid, the President, a famous actress, a successful writer and a beautiful princess. There was no tool more powerful than my imagination; indeed, it took me to places I would never be able to go, even as an adult who was supposed to hold the world in the palm of her hand and bid it do as she liked.
When I was a little kid, there was no sadder girl on the face of the earth. Yet even despite the cloud perpetually threatening rain over my head, tomorrow always held the promise of better and brighter. I saw that what it meant to hope actually meant patience, because eventually sunnier skies appear.
When I was a little kid, my bangs were always crooked.
When I was a little kid, people assumed much about me, as they do all future adults. They assumed I would marry, get a job, have kids of my own, retire, and be happy. I think I was the only one who assumed I would drive a purple Beetle and become insanely wealthy, because where I lived wealth meant your very own castle on a hill, handsome prince optional.
When I was a little kid, I tried and failed to make my very own treehouse in the backyard. Reaching the lowest branch required a ladder leaned up against the side of the tree, and my dad needed that ladder for work. I supposed he could have nailed wooden steps to the tree so my sister and I could climb up, but none of us thought of that option.
When I was a little kid, I thought I was the center of the universe, with everybody else acting for my own amusement. I suppose every child sees herself as the hero of her own story.
When I was a little kid, I knew there was a God, and I knew that He loved me, though I cannot remember anyone telling me this until I grew much older.
When I was a little kid, my mother was a part of myself. I didn’t see her as a separate being. My needs were her needs and vice versa. When I saw her cry, my throat tightened and I was afraid I would shatter in a million pieces at the sight of her tears.
When I was a little kid, school was equal parts boring and terrifying. Terrifying in that I was afraid of what everyone thought of me; boring in that nothing challenged me. Thus sprung my habit of reading under the desk and thinking I was getting away with it. I have carried a book with me ever since.
When I was a little kid, I felt proud any time my dad asked me to help him with something in the garage. It made me feel like the most capable girl in the world.
When I was a little kid, I read my favorite books over and over and over. There was comfort in friends that never changed, worlds that always waited for you to visit, where you could be a real hero and not just wish you were one; where you could have real adventures and not just long for them.
When I was a little kid, I wanted to marry my cat Max. He was black with two white spots, one on the belly and one on the chest, making him look like a dashing, tuxedo-clad charmer.
When I was a little kid, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to get to see my best friend everyday, until I couldn’t anymore.
When I was a little kid, I took a lot for granted. Like having grandparents that took me to the zoo.
When I was a little kid, one day I was not so little anymore. People didn’t treat me like a little kid, even though technically I still was one.
When I was a little kid, I drew pictures, cried a lot, created my own paper dolls, bossed my sister around, body surfed in the ocean, played the piano, ate too many cookies, went camping with my family, and made up stories. Always, stories.
Looking back to when I was a little kid is like looking for clues to how I became this woman at the computer today, typing stories and still crying a lot. Still wishing that someday, I will hold this world in the palm of my hand and bid it do as I like.
I love this post so much. I love all the photos, too. Especially the “okay, go stand by the camel” one. So great.
It’s good to look back and see how far we’ve come. I wonder what we’ll look back on in another twenty something years. I hope it’s all good stuff. 🙂
Celeste recently posted…One Hundred Word Wednesday: Memory Found
Haha! We’ve all had that “go stand by the camel” moment!
And I hope so, too.
Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real.
I loved every word of that. The part about your mom made my throat swell with emotion. That’s how I felt about mine, too (and still do, kind of!) and it was a great reminder for me to remember that this, what you wrote about, is where my kids are *right now*. It felt like a call to try to imagine how they feel about me, how they will remember me, in our daily interactions. If that makes sense. Thanks for this.
Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. recently posted…When Your Child is Anxious
Totally related to so much of this especially the part about your mom. To be a kid again just for even a moment, especially knowing what I know now. Thanks so much for sharing and linking up with us again!
Janine Huldie recently posted…When I Was A Kid, I Thought ~ FTSF #42
I think we may have all felt that way about our moms. 🙂
Such a thought provoking post. I can relate to so much of it – love that you reread your books over and over. Such great memories. For me the one that hit home was the fact that you didn’t realise then how great it was to see your best friend every day. My two best friends no longer live here on the west coast. One is in New Zealand and the other across the country. Oh to go back to those simpler times …
Kelly McKenzie recently posted…Birthday Cake Nightmares
I know. I look back and wish I had appreciated what I had, because friendship like that is rare.
Wow. This is amazing and I love it somuch. When I was a little kid…I, too, thought I was the center of everything. Thanks for putting that into words, as that’s what I want for my son (in a non douchy way of course). Great post! And thanks for linking up 🙂
Kristi Campbell recently posted…We can fly
I think it’s an ego-development phase. I remember very distinctly the day that I realized that other people were the center of their own lives, not just on the periphery of mine, lol. 🙂
I loved all of this! I related to a lot of it, but smiled with reminiscing pride over the part about your dad, as I shared those feelings too.
Also, gotta say, I love the industrial sized fanny pack from the zoo picture. 😉
Ericamos recently posted…Now Presenting, Mrs. Brown
And we ALL had fanny packs like that, didn’t we? Mine was the best. Roomy and pink. 😉
But LOOK at the woman you are today. You still DIY, and it still holds that wonder you had as a child, working with your dad in the garage.
Your sneaky reading has developed into awesome writing.
And whatever else the girl in the photos might have thought, and the woman at the computer now thinks, the way you express yourself suggests that you can still see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower.
Sorry you saw your mum cry though. I never did, but it was one of my fears. She kept it well hidden. Probably on purpose.
Keep writing you.
Considerer recently posted…7 Quick Takes #52 (oh the irony) x FTSF
This wins for most beautiful comment of the day. 🙂
I still try to see the world with the same freshness – tempered by wisdom, of course.
That’s a great thing to aspire to, and an attitude I could do with learning 🙂
Considerer recently posted…7 Quick Takes #52 (oh the irony) x FTSF
Bonnie a.k.a. LadyBlogger
This is beautifully written and the photographs really enhance it. Thank you for writing this, I really enjoyed reading it.
Bonnie a.k.a. LadyBlogger recently posted…A Child Thinks…
Thank you. I didn’t mean to include so many photos, I just got on a roll…
Lisa @ The Golden Spoons
Wow! That was awesome. I believe all kids think they are the center of the universe. College classes that gave me a degree in Child Development would say it’s “developmentally appropriate” for kids to think that way. As adults, though, I think sometimes we forget how children view the world. I think on some level we are all still waiting to hold the world in the palm of our hands. 🙂
Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted…A Sentence That is Hard For Me to Finish
Yes, I learned that in college too, and it made me think to myself, “Oh, that’s why I was so selfish back then…”
Most of the time I still feel like a little kid. But I know now that the universe does not revolve around me.
I know, I still feel like a kid, too. I wonder if I’ll ever grow up?
Samantha Brinn Merel
Wow, I am going to be thinking about this post for awhile. I have always thought that if we look back, we can see the pieces of who we are in who we used to be.
Samantha Brinn Merel recently posted…This Is Fall
I agree. I sometimes look back just to maybe get a clue of who I really am, deep down, because sometimes I feel like I lose myself…
Kenya G. Johnson
Sweeeeeet – I love this an the accompanying photos. I got a lump in my throat at the mom part – my mom and I are tight like that.
We’re lucky to have moms like that, huh? 🙂
I love this post. I guess we all do think many of those things, but you wrote it so well. I think that there is so much truth in our adult lives to what we felt and thought as a child and sometimes it is hard to remember that we all came from somewhere. Thank you for your beautiful post. It really made me think.
Surprise Mama recently posted…Disappointment
Thank you so much! That’s the biggest compliment I could received. 🙂
Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe
I had to take a break from the books at one point. I would have one everywhere I went – one in the car, one at the office, one in my bedroom, etc., so I would always be able to reach for one, but at some point, I was getting confused and starting to think of a character from book A as being in book C, etc. lol. When I was a kid, I actually went so far as to convert my bedroom closet into a library. It had shelves up one side, so I stored my books there and would climb the shelves like a ladder to perch on the top to read while my bestie was down below with her own little table and chair. 🙂
Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe recently posted…Finish the Sentence Friday: When I was a Little Kid, I Thought …
You and I sound remarkably alike… 🙂
I loved reading this, Natalie, and seeing the photos that went along with your words. Reading about someone’s childhood does give you glimpses into who they are today – I think most of the time our essence stays the same.
Dana recently posted…The delusions of youth
Thank you! And I agree – essentially, I’m still that little girl, only a little weather-beaten. 😉
Awesome post and memories. I really enjoyed reading it. It is runny how we think life will turn out and it ends up being much different than we imagined.
mike recently posted…Ask Joe. Providing answers to those burning questions.
I know. My life is nothing like I’d imagined it would be…
Really beautiful post. You really captured all those feelings we have as kids and so perfectly from that point of view. The lines about your mother – so sweet.
Linda Roy recently posted…I Fell Asleep On a Stranger’s Shoulder On a NYC Subway
Thank you. I think it’s because sometimes I still feel like a kid…? 😉
These are really beautiful snapshots into your childhood. Thanks for sharing!
Stacie recently posted…Comment on Google Me Q313 by Natalie – The Cat Lady Sings
🙂 This is the edited-for-TV-version. 🙂
I love how you structured this, and included so many memories and beliefs of your childhood. They must be universal, because I realized that I really thought most, if not all, of these things when I was little too. You wrote about many things that I hadn’t really thought about, though. I hadn’t thought about how adults always seemed to have expectations of us, and we wanted to grow-up and be magical things or be anything we wanted. Thank you for transporting me back to childhood in this post!
Thank you! I’m starting to learn I’m not really as unique as I thought, lol.
Introspective and touching! Childhood is so mysterious yet so clear. It’s so interesting to think about what parts of it shaped us and what parts of it were really just us being ourselves all along.
Larks recently posted…Comment on Politicians should dress like race car drivers. by C.K. Hope
Yes. I find developmental growth interesting – while some of it can be clearly documented, there’s a touch of magic involved. 🙂
Damn this is fantastic!!
Robbie recently posted…Fractured Friday Forty Seven
Beautiful post. And I can’t blame you for wanting to marry Max the cat. He’s a clearly hot!
Daniel Nest recently posted…WTF Report: “What the f…art?!”
I know. If only he lasted beyond 15 years old.
Hi Natalie, this was an amazing post! I think it’s my favorite post of the day! I love that got on a roll, that you put so much of yourself into this but also with enough restraint so as to not drag your reader down or isolate them. This was a perfect nostalgia piece.
This part broke my heart: “When I was a little kid, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to get to see my best friend everyday, until I couldn’t anymore.”
One can make so many inferences from that…beautiful. Thank you for sharing (and for also commenting on my blog),
Wow, thank you! Great compliment. 🙂 I was in a sad mood when I wrote this, but was trying not to drag anyone down.
I think you will get to do that too,i.e get to hold the world in the palm of your hand.And I would appear out of the clouds and say,’See I told you’.
I loved your little girl story.
I hope so. 🙂 Thank you!
Wow! I loved this. I could relate to so much of this – except no one ever let me think I could be anything I wanted. Lucky you!
Visiting from Moonshine.
Robin recently posted…Self-Sabotage? Self-Protection? What’s a Blogger to Do?
Haha! I don’t know where I got that idea from…probably TV, lol.
I feel like I learned so much about you from this one post. I loved how you opened and closed it and sprinkled it with photos.
Marcy recently posted…Three Lies, the Sequel: Straight Outta Cowpton
Aw, thanks Marcy! I know, I haven’t changed too much – only I hope I’m not such a brat anymore. 😉
I love everything about this post. Even from a shear technique point of view… Its so well structured and wonderfully written… When you were a little kid you musta wanted to be a writer!
Thanks so much, Zoe! And yes, I did. 🙂
Aw, this is so wonderful! Makes me want to hug my mom. And my very first cat, Lawrence, who was pretty awesome in his own right.
I love the flow of your writing and the way you’ve captured that sense of childhood with all its ups and downs.
Suzanne recently posted…Trifextra: Avarice
🙂 Thank you. Childhood was such a disjointed time of ups and downs…
Great conclusion. This reminds me of a Where I’m From poem I make my students do, except that yours in good, and theirs are…uh, interesting.
Your childhood sounds a lot like my wife’s with the constant book in hand and being bored at school. I was bored too, so I made dumb jokes that got me sent to the office.
chris plumb recently posted…Win Some, Lose Some, Sports Will Make You Worrisome.
Haha. We all have our ways of coping with boredom at school… 🙂
Wow, Natalie. Wow. This was the most beautiful thing I’ve read by you. It makes me want to read a whole book this little girl will (has?) write some day. I felt like I was reading this with my heart, not my eyes.
Aw, thank you Katia! Such a compliment, especially coming from a writer I so admire.
Sometimes I look back on childhood and am amazed to see who I was versus who I am now. So much has changed and yet so much is…the same.
Jack recently posted…Possession Of A Penis Does Not Make You Evil
I know. It’s like a vague-ish roadmap…