There's an old adage that people do not remember what you've said, but they will remember how you've made them feel. Personally, I try to take that to heart, particularly with my children and coworkers, since they are the people I spend, by far, the most time with.
A lot of people who know me know that I have often said that I do not have many fond memories of childhood. What would be more apt is that I do not have many fond memories of my parents and family as a child; my fond memories come from outside the house, or squirreled away on my own.
I recently shared a small reply to a post that @dswigle put up about clouds. That post brought back a flood of feelings, a few memories, but mostly feelings. My parents divorced when I was about 3 - I have a few fleeting memories of them being married, but nothing more - and my dad ultimately moved just outside of Calgary to what was at the time a small town named Airdrie.
Airdrie spanned Highway 2 in Alberta, the major highway between Calgary and Edmonton, and so was divided into "East Airdrie" and "West Airdrie." Despite that, at the time, it was still small enough that neither side had even a traffic light; I do remember the first four-way stop and then, ultimately, the first traffic light, and was pretty amazed by that.
I remember staying at my dad's one summer. The entire summer. I thought it would never end. It was absolutely horrible. The only thing worse than staying with my dad was knowing that ultimately I'd need to go home and stay with my mom. Yes, I was one of the few children who actually always looked forward to going back to school because summers were torturous. Except when they weren't.
This one summer at my dads I had a bike and a summer camp. The summer camp was located on the fringe of a cemetery, which I thought was absolutely awesome - looking back, I think that one particular summer camp may have been the impetus behind my lifelong love of cemeteries. I don't really remember what we did in camp, but I remember enjoying it. One of the things I remember the most was watching the clouds. That always seemed to bring me some peace and happiness. I'm pretty sure we didn't just gaze at the clouds during camp, but I do distinctly remember doing that.
I also remember that, being a small-but-growing town, there was always something to explore in Airdrie. Maybe it was just because it was new to me, but I loved to get out on my bike and ride everywhere I could to see what was where and what was new. I'd ride through fields and down streets, but what always fascinated me the most were the paths that led to the overpass that tied East and West Airdrie's together. It felt like a maze to me that I could explore and find my way out of; it was also a lot of fun to ride over the highway and watch the cars pass by underneath.
Ultimately Airdrie grew large enough to warrant getting their own 7-11; this 7-11 was on the West side, whilst my dad's house was on the East side. I remember making the trek with some neighbour children all the way to the West side on our bikes to buy candy - Bottlecaps, Jawbreakers and Pop Rocks were our typical fare. By the time we got home I'd often be sunburnt.
Childhood is hard. Adulting is hard. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be a break at all. My own children do not have the type of childhood that I had, and do not seem to venture far from the house without me at all. This does concern me somewhat, because as a parent
part of my job is to prepare them for adult life, and being out on Adventures is certainly a part of that training. But let's also remember that adage we started this post with - people do not remember what you've said, but will remember how you've made them feel. If my children leave the house full of positive feelings, I'll consider that just as big a win.
p.s., thanks to the wonder of maps.google.com, here's a map of the overpass and cemetery mentioned in this post
(c) All images and photographs, unless otherwise specified, are created and owned by me.
(c) Victor Wiebe
Amateur photographer. Wannabe author. Game designer. Nerd. General all around problem-solver and creative type.
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