Sometimes we don’t realise what we’ve lost ’til some long-forgotten memory triggers a wrenching feeling.
I got that today.
I always knew when I came home from school that one summer’s day that my life would be completely changed. In fact, my dear Mum and Dad probably said something along those lines to me.
Since then, I’ve described that day to myself as “the day my world turned upside down”. As time has passed, I’ve realised the reality is even more complicated than that, as my world has done a few more complete 180 degree flips. (about two, I’d say)
None of them so directly connected to a particular date or event, but all of them with such a ‘conspiracy theory’ connotation that if I didn’t know I’d lived through them, the thought of having to live through them again would be enough to make my stomach churn in triple-motion.
My parents have – as parents do – tried to protect me from hurt as I’ve been getting used to this living business. But that day, they realised they couldn’t protect me from the events that had occurred. They couldn’t even protect themselves.
It was a surprise to me to discover that. The knowledge was a big burden to bear. Not that they left me to bear it alone – they were still holding it tight above my shoulders so I wouldn’t have to feel the weight of it. But the big difference was that they had drawn aside the curtain and pointed its existence out to me.
I suppose that was the day I grew up.
Theoretically, that statement makes perfect sense. I guess I could have told you that that was the day I grew up ever since the day itself. But it was more just a pure statement of fact, rather than something that was ‘real’ to me.
The trigger of a distant memory changed that for me today. I was on the phone to my Mum, when she “signed off” with an old favourite “Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!”
It suddenly struck me how she hasn’t said that to me “since I was a kid”. I think I *was* still a kid before that fateful day. That’s when I can last remember crawling under my covers behind the wardrobes in my own secret corner of ‘the girls room’.
I miss those days, I think. And I love my parents.