6 AM. came early that day – up with the dawn as they say. I quietly slipped out of bed not wanting to unwrap myself from the warm blankets from the bed I shared with my sister.
I go to the kitchen only to find just enough cereal for my sisters and brother. Oh well, they need it more than me. I make each of us our peanut butter sandwiches, wrapped them in tin foil and set them on the counter ready for school. I wake my siblings up and the day begins.
Grabbing our lunches, bundled in the warmest clothes we had, we were off to school. The frozen grass crackled beneath our feet as we walked closely together to stay warm. The Christmas season was upon us. The holiday decorations adorned the blocks that lead our way to the 6 and half hours of learning; school:)
I was eleven. Although some days I felt like 35. I didn’t want to be or feel like 35. I didn’t have time to be kid, to play or just have fun. I had to be there for my brother and sisters. My mother had to work 2 jobs just to keep a roof over our heads and well, I was the oldest of 4, so I took on that responsibility.
Sitting in class, pretending to listen, my thoughts are drifting to what can I make for dinner tonight, what book I will read before they go to bed and I know we have to finish a project my sister is working on. And that’s when I feel like I am 5 and I long for someone to take care of ME.
I find a quiet space in the cafeteria to eat my lunch. The kids make fun of me because I only have a sandwich to eat, so eating alone is just easier. I pull out my sandwich and carefully open the foil. I savor it as if it is a Pastrami on Rye; my mouth is watering. I bite into the dry bread with a hint of peanut butter and chew slowly. My mother always says if you chew your food slowly you’ll be full faster and considering I didn’t have anything else to pull out to eat, I made a meal out of my peanut butter delight.
The bell is attempting to tell us school is out. It sounds as if it is on its last leg and about to hit bell heaven, but we are all used to it by now. I raced out of class to get my little sister who is in 1st grade. The other two met me at the library; if you want to call it that. It isn’t any bigger then the small classrooms we inhabit for most of the day. But the room is lined with books and Mrs. Gardner always waits for me so I can check out the next adventure I will go on. She knows how much I love to read. Reading is my escape from the reality I have to live in. And in a book I can be any age I want; wear the prettiest dresses, have a new home with a mom and a dad and go on adventures; I love adventures! I always get books to read to my brother and sisters too. That is our nightly ritual; bedtime stories.
The day has warmed a bit since our chilly walk in the morning; as we take our time walking home admiring the decorations. We had our favorites and pretended one of the houses was ours. We each had our own room, a big bed and lots of food on the table. We are dreamers, but that is all we have.
Night was upon us; homework was finished; I made sure they had their baths, story time and then off to bed for the 3 of them.
The day was winding down and this was my time, my moment to be by myself.
I took my book and felt drawn to our old but beautiful tree. The gold and blue lights brighten up the tree with all of our creatively decorated ornaments; some plain and some maybe a bit too ornate, but beautiful just the same; we loved it.
I laid down with my head under the bottom bow; my book in hand and escaped to another place. The room is dark except for the gold and blue illuminating my space. I feel at peace; I feel warm and safe. I feel God with me under that tree at this moment and I know his arms are wrapped around me as I am feeling 5 again. I feel so good laying there I don’t want to leave. I know now that our lives are safe and that all will be OK. I feel loved.
That was my cherished moment. Every Christmas when I put up my tree, I turn off all the lights and let the colors from my tree bring magic to the room. I lay underneath my special tree and remember that moment when I was Eleven. Because sometimes we just want to feel like a kid again. And that’s OK!
Do you have a cherished moment in your life? Think about that. What great feelings did it bring to you?
May the Holiday season bring more great moments to your life:)
Keep hiking to the top,