My mother taught kindergarten at our church. The pre-K class met across the hall from Mom’s class. I adored my mother, and I wanted desperately to be with her instead of in my pre-K class. I could see her through the large plate glass window, and I howled and cried. Of course I wasn’t allowed to join her, but I still recall my desperate pain and longing.
On one of our many family vacations, Dad became impatient with the bickering going on and he angrily announced, presumably to my siblings in the back seat, “If you all don’t behave, I’m going to turn this car around and go home.” Seated between my parents, I looked up at him, narrowed my eyes, and declared, “I wish you would.” This is one of my favorite memories. I don’t know exactly how old I was, I have no idea where we were going, I don’t know how he responded. But I said my piece and I had no fear. This was before I became frightened by his temper, and I stayed that way from about age five until around age 30.
I was sensitive and sweet, but I also was stubborn and prone to throwing a tantrum if I didn’t get my way. My grandmother’s nickname for me was Little Chief Thundercloud. I accompanied her shopping one day and I found a bin with stuffed animals in it. I picked a small, pink rabbit and asked her if I could have it. She said no. I stormed off to sulk and cry from a distance, while stealthily keeping an eye on her, as she watched my antics, amused. She relented and bought me the bunny. Pinky Fuzzy remains in my closet on a long shelf with many other childhood treasures.
When I was four, I was mighty and awesome and unafraid. I was full of love and sensitivity and sweetness. My four-year-old self is my hero. Here’s to living in the moment, totally honest and absolutely alive.