Childhood is precious. At least if you are not the child. At least that is how it was for me. When I was a kid, I was just that, no more, no less. I didn’t think anything about what I was doing or what I was living was precious. Interesting, maybe, but certainly not precious.
I spent my childhood thinking that it was like everyone else’s childhood. What I had or didn’t have was irrelevant. What I did or didn’t do, was also irrelevant. What was important was that I got to spend every day in discovery, playing with my friends. And, without even knowing it, I was learning. I was gaining life’s lessons without even trying. If I fell and scun my knee, I knew I didn’t want to do that again. When I got the wind knocked out of me playing football, I knew I didn’t want that to happen again either. None of that was precious. The only consistency was that it hurt.
But, at least when I was growing up, adults liked to think those years were precious, but I assume, only to them. Oh, they would say, when you grow older, you will cherish these years. Well, I am older, and I don’t. But I do remember a few of those adults that told me that. Most were ladies of “an age” that never had kids, were very adamant about parenting skills they personally had not been called upon to exercise, and were very fond of pinching my cheeks, something I remember as fondly as getting the wind knocked out of me playing football.
I don’t think I am missing a gene, although I could be. Perhaps a mental anomaly that precludes my ability to treasure everything I did as a child. I don’t. Unfortunately, I do remember most of what I did. I would not characterize it as precious. Actually, it was closer to reckless, dangerous, often injurious, and downright fun. I lived without reservation, concern, fear, or even apprehension. I was a kid. No more. No less. Exciting, yes. Precious, no.
But here is the kicker. After all the scrapes, bruises, abrasions, bumps, wounds, burns, cuts, stitches, and assorted injuries, I survived. I grew up with an understanding that whatever you do, there is a consequence. Actually, I did not and still do not think of any of that as anything more then introducing myself to life.
I love analogies. They often reduce the complex to a similar situation on a simpler plane. As such, I equate my “precious” childhood to a ride on a roller coaster. You know there is danger. You know there is going to be fear. You know it is going to be exciting. And you do it anyway. You can call that precious if you wish. To me, it is called growing up.