When I was seven-ish, we lived with my Nana and Grandad in rural North Florida for a bit. Some of my happiest, most stable childhood memories are from these years. Nana and Grandad seemed SO OLD, and I was always so intrigued (in all the best ways) by their oldness. I’m certain my affinity for the elderly was informed during these years. Anyway, they lived on a lake (a dream for a kid), so there was a ton jumping off our dock into the lake, swimming with our giant dog (the sweetest German Shepard), fishing, catching snakes and tadpoles, and so much adventure in the woods. It was a very simple life. A rural life. And there were alligators and poisonous snakes – you know, the legendary stuff of childhood stories.
My parents left for work super early in the mornings, and Nana would get me ready for school. She made me grits and eggs every single morning before school. And my grandad would smoke his pipe while playing checkers with me while I ate my grits. Nana loved me to pieces and I knew it. She always had homemade chocolate cake at the ready, resting in the pie safe. And she was always full of kindness, hugs, and just so much love. She took a lot of pride in teaching me cursive and that pride passed onto me when I won an award for best cursive handwriting in the third grade. She’d take me to the Baptist church on Sundays, almost always followed by a big lunch of fried chicken.
Good times. Really good times. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Years later when Nana had excruciating dementia, we’d visit her but she didn’t know who we were, though she would talk to us anyway. There was one time, though, that she couldn’t stop staring at me, as if she felt our connection, but she couldn’t quite make sense of it.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
We all have our childhood stories – the ones that are super informative to our development. Some stories require much healing later in life, and then (hopefully) there are memories of stability, adventure, and love like these years on the lake. Grateful.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀