My parents were visiting this past week. We spent three glorious days skiing in Fernie.
The first night, Dad and Dan and I stayed up and had a bottle of wine and talked and talked in the ski lodge. There were heated games of Euchre. Delicious dinners. More wine. Skiing.
I came back early because I had an interview. I couldn’t sleep the night before and in the morning I sweat right through the dress I had picked out so I raced around the neighborhood trying to find an appropriate outfit.
When Mom and Dad came back to town we went to the radio station and they told stories about my childhood.
I love hearing old stories. Even ones I’ve heard a thousand times. I could hear them over and over again. There’s one about this time that there were bats in our chimney. Mom and Dad figured it would be fun to arm us with tennis racquets and chase the bats (they thought there were two or three) out the door, (I was 5 or 6 and my brother was about 4, my sister was just a baby.) So Charlie and I stood there with our tennis racquets waiting for these bats to emerge as my dad smoked them out–and all of the sudden the room filled with like 20 or 30 bats screeching and diving and Maddy started crying and screaming and my parents were like, Oh, shit. They scuttled me and Charlie into our room and everyone survived to laugh about it all these years later.
The other story was about the time I got run over by a car. I was two years old and my mom was eight-months pregnant. As she was telling the story, I realized there was some time between finding a police officer at her house and meeting me at the ambulance that my mom didn’t know if I was alive. Hearing that put a stone in my throat.
But still. I like to think and wonder about how all these things–big and small, happy and sad–somehow led me here.
After a raucous night at the Blues Can (think 50-somethings dancing their hearts out to soul music. Yeah, it’s awesome) with friends last Friday, Dan and I spent one full hungover day on the couch. Boy was it lazy goodness. We watched The Man From Snowy River, one of my childhood favorites. I was crazy over the soundtrack to that movie, and when I got home from school, I would dress up in a leotard, put on the soundtrack (or Chariots of Fire) and dance around the living room. Of course in my imagination, I was galloping on horses all over the mountains just like in the movie.
In Crossing the Unknown Sea, David Whyte says that the thing we are meant to do is closely tied to who we were and what we loved as children. That the most important clues to who we really truly are lie there.
Sometimes it’s so easy to not think about the past. Sometimes we’d rather forget. But something about that comment hit home with me. As a girl I loved books and dancing around the living room dreaming of adventure. When I think of that girl, I feel like she could probably teach me more than I could teach her.
She’d tell me to put on my favorite outfit, gallop around the world to my favorite music. And then write a book about it.
What would your childhood self tell you?