If I caught the world in a bottle
And everything was still beneath the moon
Without your love would it shine for me?
If I was smart as Aristotle
And understood the rings around the moon
What would it all matter if you loved me?
Here in your arms where the world is impossibly still
With a million dreams to fulfill
And a matter of moments until the dancing ends
Here in your arms when everything seems to be clear
Not a solitary thing would I fear
Except when this moment comes near the dancing's end
If I caught the world in an hourglass
Saddled up the moon so we could ride
Until the stars grew dim, Until...
I'm always saddened to hear people say how terrible their childhoods were. So many people seem to have negative memories of this most precious time of their lives. An equally surprising number of people seem to have grown up hating their parents. I can't count the number of times I've heard people say that their parents taught them how NOT to raise a child.
Until I was 14 years old, my childhood was nearly idyllic. I am the oldest of four children, the elder two being girls, the younger being boys. We are all nearly exactly two years apart. We grew up on a quiet street outside of town, essentially in the country. Our house had a wonderful playroom where we played for many hours. Together we were knights on an exciting adventure, magical creatures, ghosts, super-heroes, grown-ups (who never had to work), and a million other things.
Most of all though, we were four children who loved one another's company, and who more often than not preferred to lose themselves in the realm of imagination. I don't remember watching TV, other than the occasional Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers. What I do remember is endless summer days spent traipsing through the forest behind our home, or sailing homemade sailboats on the brook which ran through that forest. I remember crisp winter days spent tumbling breathlessly down the hill until our sides hurt from laughter and our noses were completely frozen. I remember warming ourselves with hot chocolate while we waited for our wet things to dry, only to run back out again as soon as we were able.
My mother was and is a beautiful woman - elegant, intelligent, soft-spoken, and full of laughter and wisdom. My father is a strong, passionate, caring, wonderfully intelligent and completely dedicated man. To us they were the sun and moon. Or perhaps more accurately, they were the king and queen that reigned in our fairy-tale world.
My parents were not rich, but somehow it never mattered. They loved us, and weren't afraid to show us that. Every Sunday was a family day, spent at the beach or at the park, sliding together or playing a game. On countless occasions, they would arrive home from work only to pile us into the car and head off on an adventure somewhere. It seemed they missed us as much as we missed them. They taught us to be good to one another, and to respect others. They created family traditions that we all continue to propagate with our own families. They taught us that we could accomplish anything, dream anything, be anything. They taught us to take pride in ourselves, in our identities, in our work. Most of all, they gave us the gift of their love, and the gift of the love that they shared. We laughed together, and yes, occasionally we cried. Four children can't coexist in a home without the occasional disharmonious moment. But for the most part, I remember those years as being full of the wonder. The smell of the ocean, of crisp fall leaves, of sunscreen and of my mother's cookies permeate these memories.
Whatever I am today, and whatever I manage to accomplish as a wife and as a mother, I owe to my parents. Regardless of their faults, and regardless of the tale I need to tell, they will always be the most important influences in my life. Not all fairy-tales end with the words happily ever after. That alone shouldn't diminish the magic and wonder that filled the pages that came before the inevitable end.