I have fond memories of being a little kid and waiting with my mom at the local polling place on election day. We’d get there early. We’d finally get to the front of the line. My mom would sign in and the three of us would follow her, sauntering over to the curtained booth.
After crowding inside, I’d watch her face and her hands, seeking out the desired row, and she’d use her fingers and pull down all the little knobs. She’d let us to some too. Down the row. Tick tick tick tick.
We’d step back and then she’d pull that big, heavy – it seemed so big back then – lever, that historical piece of American machinery. Ka-thunk.
She’d pull back the curtain and we’d all go back out into the fluorescent lit room, the communal, patriotic, public space.
One day, you’re nursing your brand-newborn in your bed at home.
The next, (or 5.5 months later) you turn around for under a minute only to turn back and realize your baby is not where you left her, but rather pulling herself at a steady pace across the floor, reaching into the bottom shelf, pulling out a basket of toy cars, and sucking on one.
One of the best re-giftings I’ve ever gotten was being able to watch Sesame Street all over again, as much as I want, from now until my last kid turns to me and says, “Ma, c’mon, I’m too old for Sesame Street,” as he walks out the door for first year of army service.
I don’t think I ever really stopped being a kid. There are a few things I always held on to: the covered slide, Disney movies, fruit snacks.
Ok, who am I kidding… there are about 20875691346 things I never let go of to become an adult.
Anyway, having a kid is a 24/7 excuse to live like a kid again (and not seem like a creep). Now I can go to a park and use more than just the swings. I can go on the water slide in the hotel pool… over and over, not just once to ‘make sure it’s safe’ for the kids.
Finger painting, for example. I haven’t done that since… I was a camp counselor for 3-year-olds a decade ago. Ok, fine.