and by old days I mean 1994
I mean I was born in 1989. I like to consider myself an old soul though and I find myself craving the nostalgia of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s more and more everyday. The music, the food, the clothes, your childhood. It was all better back in the day, admit it. Now that I am a parent living in the days of $70 baby outfits and 8 year olds with iPhones, I’m feeling a little worried. Will my children get the excitement of a genuine childhood?
Well whats genuine you might ask?
Well let me take you back to the summer of 1997. I was 8 and my brother was 7.
We just got dropped off at our Gran’s house for the weekend which was always our place to be. Her house was yellow with red shudders and had a window in the kitchen that opened to the front porch. Where she served us peanut butter and honey sandwiches with Sunny D to drink. Sunny D for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She had a massive back porch that was screened and filled with our toys and game and with our toy kitchen, that yes we played with until we were at least 8. We served up fake meals to everyone in the family for years. At night we would eat creamed tuna on toast and all snuggle on the couch and watch All Dogs Go To Heaven for the 19th time. When it was time to go to bed we would pile up in her water bed and fall asleep. As we got older we gradually moved to the guest room but one of us was always bound to end up back on the waterbed. In the mornings she fixed a breakfast that a “trucker” eats she would say. Then we would put on our tennis shoes and set out for the day. Feed the ducks at the pond across the street, walk the creek beds all the way to the mall and turn around and go back, fill up the little plastic pool in the front yard and swim in it for hours. My aunt JuJu would come over and we would walk the neighborhood searching for rubber bands on the ground, we ended up making the worlds largest rubber band ball that im pretty sure she still has to this day. And that was just one weekend.
If we weren’t downstairs in a family members basement with all of our cousins playing air hockey or duck hunter we were outside building a fort in a field somewhere (so many forts). Speaking of basements, I’m pretty sure 85% of our childhood was spent in one. All the cousins would sneak down to the basement and look for hidden Christmas or birthday gifts or jump on our grandpa’s exercise equipment and “work out”. Our parents had no idea where we were. They never did. My mom just rung a cowbell when dinner was ready and we raced home to eat. Everyday we would set out into the world and find us a gang of kids and a couple of stray dogs, walk to save-a-lot and drink some Surge, roller skate to the community pool and swim for hours and eat 12 concession stand pizzas, we probably crossed 2 major highways to get there and never even flinched.
God forbid my mom have to take us to the store. Every time she would ask “do you want to stay in the car or do you want to go inside” The obvious answer was stay. Roll down the windows, turn up the music and fight about who gets to sit upfront while she is in there. “Lock the door when I get out” We’d be in there for 30-45 minutes sometimes. We didn’t care. Nobody else did either.
My brothers birthday is in May so he usually had the pool birthday parties. Complete with specialty baked cakes in perfectly formed action figures and mini cup cakes that were organic. Everyone at the party got a present for coming and…this did not happen. Usually both our parties were the at the DZ Zone, there weren’t any cupcakes and your friends were lucky if they even got some cake. This place was a mad house. ball pits for days.
Are my kids getting gypped? They will never know the feeling of loading up a wagon and walking door to door around the neighborhood (without mom or dad) with their sibling selling chocolate bars for 6 hours. (Eating more than selling). Why did schools do that anyway?
They only have 18 summers as children. EIGHTEEN! It’s time to gather the neighborhood gang, jump on your bicycles, chug some Sunny D and take on the day, another neighborhood Mom will hopefully feed you a bologna sandwich and if your thirsty grab the nearest water hose. Skin those knees and dirty that face!
As a mom these days I find myself exhausted from the worrying, hovering, perfecting, investigating, crafting, volunteering. I sometimes step back and ask myself “How did my mom parent back in the day?” Well it damn sure wasn’t like today’s parenting. She was a great mama and I turned out fine.
The saying “Today’s kids will never understand” is waaay too real.
…and I’m just an 80’s baby.
Good luck out there mama. It’s a wild world. (Points to whoever can name the song)