Surviving childhood

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Long ago was truly a simpler time. It was a time of innocence. In my childhood, kids could just be kids. Our senses weren’t bombarded by 24/7 news coverage of everything bad that happens in the world. We focused our attention on having fun. It’s a time that’s unfortunately forever passed.

With no bike helmets to protect us when we crashed, we simply hit the ground and rolled then brushed the dirt off and got up to ride again. We had to. The bike helmet hadn’t been invented yet. With four brothers to crash into, I crashed my bike quite often. Still, without a helmet, I survived, although some would say evidence of all those crashes long ago are starting to show.

When I was 6, mom wrecked our green station wagon with the faux wood brown panels. She spilled coffee on her lap and ran into a mailbox. After checking to see if we were injured, she grabbed some napkins and wiped up the spill. She didn’t try to sue anyone because her coffee was too hot. When the police came, no ticket was issued because we weren’t strapped in a child seat or restrained by seatbelts. Child seats hadn’t been invented yet, and seatbelts weren’t mandatory. Yet somehow we all survived.

No matter what happened to us, no matter how bad our situation had become, even when we thought the world and our lives were finally at an end, we survived. We always survived. And every morning the sun rose. It was like we got a whole new start on life. Mom used to say it was always darkest before the dawn.

For many, this holiday season is getting really dark. It’s all but festive. Some parents have lost their jobs, lost their homes, and have even started to lose the love they once had for each other. Some may say they’re poor. I say they’re rich. They both still have the love of their children. And children can survive anything in childhood as long as they know parents still love them back.

Take time, this holiday season, to show your kids you still love your spouse and them. They may never say it, but trust me, It’s important. In troubled times it’s easy to forget how much a miracle children really are. My sister and brothers knew we could survive anything because our parents would always be there for us. The love of a parent is the greatest gift you can give your child this Christmas. No matter how mature the child thinks they’ve become.

I told The Wife the other day that I felt like I’ve spent all my adult years being an inchworm. Just inching along through life trying to survive, hanging onto one thin twig after another. Soon I’m going to stop all this inching. I’m simply turn into a butterfly and fly away. She smiled and said, “Honey, caterpillars turn into butterflies. Inchworms, when they grow up, get used for fishing bait.”

Great. Who knew surviving childhood was the easy part of life? Surviving adulthood is proving to be quite difficult for this little inchworm. Thankfully, I married The Wife. She makes thing so much easier.

Just hope she doesn’t get tired of my endless prattle and decides to use me for bait. And if she asks for a fishing pole for Christmas, I’ll still stick around. I love her. Besides, even if I get out of here as fast as I can, I wouldn’t be able to go very far. ‘Cause I’m an inchworm.

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