Trevor needed a bedside table, so I went searching in the house's catacombs to find a forgotten piece a furniture that might do. I found a table I remember my father using when I growing up, and while I was clearing out the drawers I found a cache of old family videos that no one has looked at since probably they were filmed. My brother Andy loves to watch family videos, especially because he never remembers me or my brother Ben as kids. So we started watching them yesterday with the whole fam. Lots of videos of the beach, our old house in Hawaii, the Kirbys and their ancient dog Muffy, birthday parties, Christmas antics, school plays.
One of the videos was taken in December 1995, days before my tenth birthday. All my sibs and I were running around the yard diving into the inflatable pool. All gangly arms and legs, I was wearing a an ill-fitting teal bathing suit, hair and leaves sticking to my face, diving and shouting and giggling. At one point I got out of the pool and showed my mother (and the camera) a line dance we were learning at school. I was totally confident, a little wild, and overjoyed my mom thought my dancing was good enough to film, bathing suit and all.
A few videos and five years later, I am dancing again. I am wearing stage make-up, black high heels, a tight red dress. Those body parts that were so awkward five years ago have filled out. I am dancing the salsa with my then boyfriend Steven (who now, incidentally, is following a gay lifestyle in Seattle, but that doesn't matter to the story). So much has changed in those five years - I would never, in a million gazillion years be caught dancing in my front yard, or even be seen in my bathing suit.
I was thinking about that change. Somewhere between 10 and 15 I became self aware, self conscious, and society aware. Was it adolescent puberty? Was it social? Those five years were probably the hardest emotional years, I can say that now looking back. We moved from gorgeous Hawaii, living on a house on the beach right next to the best friend I adored, to frigid freezing horrid Colorado, then to Utah where I felt like the only person who had ever moved to Springville from out-of-state. It was probably a mixture of all those things, all those things everyone goes through from childhood to teenagehood. It made me sad, and sad to think I will have to watch my children transition too. Childhood is so, so precious, I don't want to miss any of it with my little ones. I want to enjoy it with full gusto, and never urge them to grow up faster than they already are. I want to savor all those moments of dancing in the yard and plunging in the pool. Not that I won't enjoy their teenage selves, but there is something so rare and sweet in childhood that never occurs again. I know this subject has been explored more eloquently in a hundred ways by authors and poets throughout centuries, but seeing those videos and having my own sweet daughters sitting on my lap made it more real to me than anything else.