I want to be a kid again. Being the oldest of seven children, I think this to myself all the time when I visit my parents house on Juliet Ave., I don’t just go back home, I go back in time. When I walk inside, I experience every point in my life thus far through my siblings, all the way from high school to age three.
Iris, circa 1998
I decided to visit my family this past week after an exhausting several days. Once class finished, I headed towards Saint Paul. I entered through the side-door. Feeling tired and defeated, I dropped my backpack in the hall, and opened the fridge. Two of my sisters were sitting at the table, distracting each other from doing homework. My littlest sister was building a robot (or as she pronounces it, “roo-bot”) with legos. One of my brothers joined me in my raid of the kitchen. When I sat down at the table and listened to my siblings talk, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of envy – wouldn’t it be nice to exist in a simpler time?
I’m fascinated by how my brothers and sisters view and experience their lives uniquely. Each one of them struggles with one thing and excels in another. As much as I assume that I know what they should expect at their age, I truly have no idea. Their future is as ambiguous as mine. This is a daunting reality that has hit me a little harder as I have reached my early twenties; constantly being asked what I am going to do with my future while feeling this overwhelming desire to go back in time. However, as my little sister shows me her Halloween costume that my dad built for her (she’s going to be the headless horseman), I realize that I’m probably most envious of their simple excitement, despite the unknown, and a complete trust in the present.
I decide to call up my best friend since age two to walk around the neighborhood with me. For the most part, we act like we’re still twelve around each other. When she and I return to my parents’ house my mom and dad have finished tucking my littlest siblings into bed. The house is falling asleep. In my gut, I want to crawl into my old bed and doodle in my old Hello Kitty notebook. I kiss my parents good-bye and say goodnight as I head back across the river to Minneapolis.
When I visit home or see childhood friends, it is easy to reminisce about a “simpler” time. Nostalgia can be a double edged sword. The past should be appreciated, but it risks creating a distraction from the present. Somehow though, as I return to my other home, I feel rejuvenated. There is something special about spending time with people who have known you your entire life. When everything around you seems to be in flux, they center you. Maybe I’m not a kid, and I don’t live in my parents house anymore, but the people and places I call home aren’t restricted to the past. Maybe I’m not a kid anymore, but that shouldn’t keep me from being being excited and having a complete trust in the present.