Sometimes it can be hard to remember your childhood. But when I think back as far as I can, there are a few people that stick out as those who were positive influences in who I am today.
My Mom! She was always present in our lives. She was there when we got off the bus from school, took us to lessons and practices, showed up at performances and games, and was a constant presence in my life. I knew that I was special to her when she would fix my favorite meals and say prayers over me when I was upset or struggling with something. Her faith and presence continues to impact my life today. I know that she is a phone call away when I need her. She continues to pray for me and my family and will put aside her ‘to-do’s’ to help where she can.
One of my Mom’s best friends was Doris. When I was young, she and her family would get together with our family for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. She became an aunt in many ways to us. She treated me as if I were her own daughter, having the same expectations of me as my parents did. She didn’t hesitate to tell me when I was out of line. I remember music, pool parties, laughter, and conversations with her. When I was in college, she constantly reminded me of my faith in God and helped me to stay focused on Christ when I could have cared less what my parents thought. She died of cancer shortly after I was married, but my husband and I remember her often for her faith and presence in our lives.
And then there was my next door neighbor. It’s amazing when you start to really dig into your childhood, who comes to the surface of your memories. I was playing softball and learning the clarinet in elementary school when they moved next door. He loved softball and also played the clarinet, which gave him a beginning of conversation with me. My dad wasn’t much for doing things with us as kids, but Dave would come outside and help me with softball. He had his own bags that we would take to a nearby field and set up our own diamond to practice. His sons were much younger than me, but when they got older and I was in the marching band in High School, he would bring his whole family to watch competitions and cheer us on. He was interested in what was happening in my life and showed up to provide his support. Remembering this helps me to remember to spend time in my children’s interests. If it’s baseball, then I’m going to go out and play catch and laugh with my son when I am unable to catch that ball he shoots so fast and hard at me!
A couple from my early childhood who I have very few memories of were the Todd’s. They lived across the street from me until I was 5 years old. They held the nickname of “Grandma and Grandpa Todd.” Even though my own grandmother was only 30 minutes away, the Todd’s adopted us and cared for us like grandchildren. I know they loved and cared for me, but I can’t remember how or what it was they did. Yet, every year at Christmas when I am unpacking the ornaments, I find the ones that she painted for me. Lovely and delicate doves and angels. And her face comes to mind and makes me smile.
Are there more I can add to my web? I am sure of it … but for now, this is my list of people who were important in nurturing me, caring for me, and helping me grow into the adult I am today.