That is a word that I don’t honestly know what it means. I mean I was a child of course, but I really didn’t have a carefree childhood. My days were filled with worry- with things such as what would I eat, how would I get to school, would my mom wake up today, would she be going to work or would she lose yet another job… and on and on. I went to bed with hunger pains most days, with not much more in the fridge except ketchup and Diet Coke. I was tardy to school so many days the truant officers had to get involved. These are not the types of things all kids have to experience, but I didn’t know any better.
This is not to say I didn’t want to do all those fun things that most kids were doing. I loved going to the pool when I was able to, usually so my mom could work on her tan and pick up guys. I would beg and plead to be able to go to the park to play, to no avail, we would end up at a bar instead. I wanted to participate in school plays, but my mom couldn’t commit to get me to rehearsals. I tried to be in band once, but was told that we couldn’t afford for the instrument so that was out too. I found joy in singing in the choir for a while, but most of the concerts I performed in I was performing with no parents there to support me.
Thinking about these things kind of breaks my heart now as an adult. That longing for a childhood I never had, and can’t get back. I am trying to make sure my own kids never experience this loss. I am trying to make sure they have a childhood. I wish sometimes they were a little more appreciative of those things I would have loved to have done when I was a kid, but I am grateful that they won’t experience this loss in their lives. I know there are kids out there that are experiencing this, which saddens me because I wish I could help them all.
We have a very short window for childhood; then all we have left are the memories of it as we become adults and responsibilities take over.