What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back.
I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way.
I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before my mind was shut off with medicine, and my body opened in a cold room with strange hands to try and fix me. Over and over.
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I miss feeling full. When hunger could be alleviated with a meal or snack. Before I knew what true hunger was—that empty feeling that gnaws from the inside and no food can satisfy. The wanting, the need. For more than food—love, acceptance, understanding, peace, and . . .
I wish I felt safe again. When my parent’s bed fit only the three of us, so fear and worry had no room to lie down.
I miss loving myself.
When looking in the mirror meant my eyes met my eyes and smiled without judgement. Without noticing imperfections or changes needed.
I miss sleeping. Closing my eyes each night and not opening them again until my body and mind were rested. That time before 3 a.m. wakings and musings.
I miss that time before knowing when ignorance was an unknown friend—one I would welcome with open arms today. When I didn’t understand loss. When I didn’t know people could hurt, I could hurt. Before I knew my mother wasn’t a queen and my dad wasn’t Superman. When I thought I could do anything. Even sing.
I miss food being food. Before there was a good and bad label. Before it was something to worry about, to count, to track. When a cookie meant love on the way out the door to play and dinner was sharing space with people I loved.
I miss my certainty. The unwavering knowledge that things would be OK. That I would realize my dreams, that love would be easy, that death was too far away to see even if I squinted. My knowing that people were kind and love could heal anything.
I miss all of this, and my missing makes me so very grateful.
Grateful I got to know my whole heart. I had my knowing, my certainty, my safety. I was whole for a long time, longer than some who have pieces stolen at too tender an age. I had the joy of food, sleep, arms that promised my safety.
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I had my childhood.
Not everyone gets to miss that.
My missing is a joy. One I hope I passed along to my sons.
I hope they miss their childhoods.
I wish every child could have a childhood that they someday miss.
Originally published on the author’s Facebook page