It's been a busy few weeks, life continuing on, with birthdays, swimming, yard work, appointments. Enjoying my family and also thinking continually of my best friend and her family whose father passed away this last week. I honestly have had nothing that I really wanted to write about. But after spending an afternoon with my mom and two of my sisters, swimming with our kids, I had a million memories go through my mind.
Summer is by far my favorite season, spring is a close second....fall and winter I could do without....unless I lived somewhere warmer. So when I think back to growing up this is where a lot of my memories usually are. I was born in Las Vegas and lived there for about 7 years before my family moved to New Jersey the first time. We moved back to Las Vegas a couple of years later....and then finally back to New Jersey when I was 11. We stayed there until my mom decided to move to Utah a couple of years after my dad died.
When I think about my life, my first thoughts are of my family. I didn't know if we were rich or poor, I don't think I ever thought of my family in that way. We just lived and I had what I needed. I remember the first house we lived in, it was small. I played outside a lot. I had a friend across the street. I remember learning to ride my bike and learning how to skate in my brother's skates that were too big for me. Even back then I was determined and stubborn. I remember jumping rope and playing at the park, and going to kindergarten. I had long straight hair, and I remember looking in the mirror one day and telling my mom I wanted it short. I'm still a little traumatized by that haircut, short and then she put curlers in it....It was an Annie hair do but brown...awful. I think when I was 6 we moved into our second house. We lived across the street from the desert, although it's no longer desert anymore. It snowed for the first time that I had ever seen, a rare event in Las Vegas....it didn't last long. We used to go fishing at Lake Mead and went for drives to the Red Rocks. I don't remember ever eating fast food. We packed lunches anytime we went anywhere. Summer meant my older sister coming to visit. There were even times my brother would want to spend time with me and we would go across the street to see what treasures we could find and catch lizards. I remember riding bikes and playing with friends. I can remember when my mom told us we were moving to New Jersey, and we were going to live right by the ocean. I think I was pretty excited about it, and I can remember clearly what I pictured it would look like. Living on the east coast was so different, not as many kids around to play with but there were kids next door and in one of the houses behind ours. These are the years that I remember most. We only lived back east for maybe 11 years but I consider New Jersey my home. I remember my first day of second grade, standing in line waiting to go in, meeting new friends, playing on the play ground, and getting lost walking home. The crossing guard, who had to call my mom to come get me, because I couldn't remember which way to go. Many summers meant, catching lightning bugs, and playing ghosts in the graveyard when it got dark, bare footed....I still hate to wear shoes. No one really had fences. There was a lot of area to run through. We would get together who we could on our block and play kickball at the neighbors house, or in the road in front of our house. We spent time swimming. Sundays were days spent at church and with family. Surprisingly, we didn't go to the beach very often. Life was easy. As I got older, friends changed just because life happens. I met my friend who is still my best friend today. The first day of 6th grade she gave me a friendship pin, and we have made a million memories since then. Hanging out at the mall, going to movies, hanging out at her house. Sleepovers and makeovers, laughing to the point of tears. Summers always meant flying or driving....depending where we lived, to Utah so my dad could go hunting and we could visit family.....grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We always stayed with my mom's parents. It was a quiet little town, and we spent days playing at the park across the street that had a huge slide....The park is long gone, but the memories are still there. I would sit on the front porch on the swing, and walk through my grandpa's orchard. He had so many trees full of fruit. We would always go to Lagoon and that was a huge treat for us. Although now that I live here, I can't stand going there anymore. I remember mostly sleeping on the back porch that was a bedroom, and opening up all the windows. At night I could here the screams from the people riding the rides at Lagoon, and in the mornings I could here the lions roaring. My other grandpa had a farm, and I loved walking up the yard to see the horses, peacocks, and the goat, I know there were other birds I just don't remember what they were. We usually got to ride a horse and it always scared me to death. I always got to spend a day and sometimes two with my other best friend. Our moms were good friends who grew up around the corner from each other and since we were born the same year, we became instant friends. We ended up being roommates in college and then again a few years later. And I'm glad I can still call her my friend today. In my teens I became the babysitter at home with 4 younger siblings. I also became the lawn mower when my brother went to college. I actually loved doing this, it also meant I took over mowing the lawn for our neighbor directly behind us. A very nice old man, however his house scared me to death, so I only got paid when he noticed I mowed it and he would see me outside. We spent a lot of time at our church, with activities during the week. This was one of my favorite places to be. Dances, basketball, volleyball, youth conference and girls camp. So many memories, I could go on forever. When I was 17, at the beginning of my senior year, my dad died, and time froze a little for me. I had more responsibility than I wanted but it was necessary, and I remember very little about that year. I just wanted to get through each day, come home, and be left alone. Life changed for me. Up to that point life was easy, nothing bad ever happened, and I really didn't have a care in the world. My hardest moment up to that point was the summer before my senior year when my mom threatened to drop me off at the mall and said she wouldn't pick me up until I had a job. My dad ended up getting me a job in the HR department at one of the casinos that was getting ready to open. Life was easy, and then it got flipped upside down. I guess you could say I was sheltered or naive...spoiled in a way. But as I always say, life is ever changing, sometimes we wish it didn't, sometimes it's harder than we feel we can take. This is why it's so important to make memories and write them down. I had a great childhood, I wish life could be as simple as it was then....but what great memories I have, and continue to make with my own children.