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The first home I remember – I was two or three years old.
I’m squatting down, hands on knees, near the steps of our back threshold.
A long black line of tiny ants have a hold on my attention –
Up from the lawn, climbing the steps, in a twisting yet orderly way,
They steadily marched along their own path, an enchanting insect ballet,
As I hummed and sang for them a tune of my own invention.
I must have lost some interest, after my lingering inspection,
Perhaps my brother came along, pulling me in another direction.
I do not remember what called me away, but always clear in my mind
Is that first discovery for myself there was a world outside of me –
The wonder found in lesser things that only child-like eyes can see,
And finding we are all a part of the Creation God designed.
Returning to my childhood, not in behavior, but remembrance,
Brings back those guileless feelings, and I detect some semblance
Of the sequence in my growth to one with smug and adult mind.
I feel a prick of sadness that the loss of childhood brings
When an open mind and heart can bring such joy in simple things.
I have an opportunity each day to search, perhaps to find
Those parts of me I buried ‘neath the things I thought more pressing:
The news, the bills, aches and pains, and appointments, all the stressing
Over such that brings no joy or wonder, that stifles imagination.
I remember that heaven welcomes those who enter as a child,
Not childish – but with boundless hope, and innocence undefiled,
And we may all reach out, reclaiming childhood’s liberation.

©Paula Tohline Calhoun 2011

Written for Sidey’s (View From the Side) weekend theme – Childhood.

I have two memories from my early childhood – the one recounted above about the ants, and the second, at around the same time (maybe a bit earlier) of my father returning home after an extended business trip in Europe.  He was gone for about 6 months. Much of the story has been recounted to me, but this part of the story is one that I truly remember:  Daddy brought back many souvenirs from England and France – where he spent the majority of his time.  One of those souvenirs was for me, and it the sort of thing that’s not appropriate for a child at that young age, but could be enjoyed and treasured later on. It was a glass snow-globe with the Eifel Tower inside.  I remember vividly how it looked (beautiful), and of my Mom or Dad placing it carefully into my hands, for me to hold, just for a moment.  It must have been much heavier than I could handle, because the scene indelibly etched in my mind is the slow-motion fall of the globe from my hands and seeing it shatter in a million pieces on the hardwood floor; the water and “snow” inside the globe spreading all over the floor.  Oddly enough I don’t remember whether I was upset or sad about it.  In retrospect, however, I have always been a bit sad and wistful about not having that snow globe!

What I do have from that time of my life is a small musical jewelry box, that plays “La Vie en Rose.”  When the box opens, a ballerina pops up and twirls to the music.  As a young child I tried to change the ballerina in it, by changing her clothes and painting her body a different color, so she looks sort of odd, but the music still plays.  It’s still a wonderful memory.  I’m glad my parents kept that one out of my hands until I was old enough to keep from breaking it!

Hope you are all able to enjoy revisiting your childhood.  It can be an interesting and eye-opening journey!

I wish you enough. . .

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