I grew up in Virginia with a slew of uncles, cousins, and mother who chanted “Hail to the Redskins!” before I even knew my alphabet. I remember family gatherings, Thanksgiving specifically and my Nannie’s birthday parties where we would heap mounds of homemade southern food onto doubled-up paper plates at 11a.m. Gather round multiple dining room tables, or even a lap on the front porch steps were acceptable make-shift dining locations, to feast.
I listen. I am calmed. There is a tightly curled brown dog sleeping deep sighs beside me while little bird songs float down the hallway from my daughter’s room. My daughter. I have a tall, beautiful daughter who emanates joy and enthusiasm for life. I listen. I am calmed. The songs continue.
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
-Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
Growing up is not easy. I remember adults saying, “Oh, don’t wish you were older than you are, childhood is a perfect place to be. Being an adult is hard.” I wonder what kind of childhood they had because I have yet to meet a child that doesn’t have difficulties before they are four feet tall. Life, at any age, can be tough, but it is how we handle it that makes us grow.
I have had this picture in my mind for years and years. I am sitting on a hardwood floor, one leg bent up to my chest while the other leg extends in front. I am lacing on a pair of shoes with great determination; tying them tighter than tight, because it’s as if they come undone I will not conquer what I am about set out to do. I am confident. I am focused. I am preparing for something great. I guess you could say this picture is “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” sort of shot. It frames one in absolute focus on what’s about to come.