I believe in numbers. Specifically, I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and one of my little compulsions is breaking everything into 3's. It helps me feel in control, as bizarre as that may sound. But the reason I am telling you this, the reason I am convinced that the number 3 is significant in my life, is because I've been waiting all weekend to share this picture with you, and the Universe chose for this particular post to be my 300th. Yeah, I'm crazy like that... but we all have our own little quirks :)
This house means more to me than just about anything else that I currently or have ever owned in my entire life. This is where I grew up. I remember when we had to move away from this house, and I was so heartbroken that I told my mom that I hated her and would never forgive her for making us leave. Leaving this house broke my heart deeper than any boy ever has -- and that includes those middle school boys who made me feel like my life was so-over when they didn't want to hold hands in the hallway anymore. But like those boys, leaving leads to growth which leads to bigger and better things. At least that's the story I'm sticking to for now.
I can't even begin to tell you the memories that I've made in this house. My very first memory ever was when I was 3 years old at our kitchen table, and the cup I was drinking from had a handle that looked like the letter 'B'. I just remember feeling so proud that I knew what that letter was. This is also where I was potty trained, learned how to ride a bike (right on that street out front), and met a tree that was so significant that I named this blog after it. I also had a kick ass backyard, with a mickey mouse sprinkler that I would run through for hours in the summer.
My parent's built this house together. They had a say in every little detail. And the coolest memory that I have from this house, is the vacant field at the end of our street. They eventually built condos (which, I might add, were the absolute scariest and awesome-ist places to trick or treat -- these people went wayyy out!), but before the condos we used to be able to see hundred of hot air balloons. I think that there was some sort of hot air balloon club or race, and they would always stop in that field to re-fuel and we always got to go and talk to them and see the balloons up close. They were seriously beautiful, all lined up by the hundreds. There's nothing else like it.
We had a huge garden in the backyard with a compost pile, and every night we ate fresh vegetables. That garden was the best place to find frogs, and my mom was always checking my pockets because I was always trying to sneak them inside to my bedroom. There was also a field behind my house, and I was grounded so many times for running out of my mom's sight despite her screaming from the back porch that I was wondering too far.
Next door was an Indian family who I was head over heels in love with. I would go over for a visit several times a week, and they would paint a red dot on my forehead and teach me about their way of life. At Christmas, I was always blown away by the transformation of their living room -- they had a million dolls on display and I remember sitting in there for hours im amazement. I remember how they would never cut the grass in their backyard, and my best friend and I would pretend we were tigers for entire afternoons, crouching and jumping through that 5 foot tall grass.
Today when I look at this picture, I think about my childhood self and how carefree I was. There are still so many things about that little girl that are still true today: I hate wearing shoes (and clothes in general), I am the happiest when I'm outside on an adventure, I still talk to trees, and I still spend the majority of my life day dreaming and pretending that life isn't as serious as others make it out to be.
But things are different, too. Sometimes I wonder what I would say to my younger self. I think I would tell her to continue living her life without second guessing herself. I would tell her that life wouldn't always be easy, sometimes it would be unbearable, but that she is strong and will be able to grow from those experiences. I would tell her that her passion for learning and reading is rare, and to never let that go. And I think that most of all, I would tell her to not get so angry when childhood ends and she has to leave that house. Better things will come, she will meet new friends that will last her a lifetime, and eventually her path will lead her to not only a husband, but a soul mate who pushes her to be herself and encourages her to continue to grow.
I would love to go back in time and hug the younger version of myself, and tell her that it's ok to feel every emotion deeply. I would tell her to cherish the times spent with her grandfathers, because the sting when they leave her will stay with her forever. Especially on prom night and at her wedding. I would encourage her to continue going barefoot and making up songs and pretending to be a fairy or a bird -- to cross boundaries and explore every inch of the world around her.
And I think that the younger version of myself, would probably have a lot to say as well. She would probably tell me to relax. To stop worrying about money, because the important things in life don't cost anything. To go on an adventure a day and to continue looking for gnomes in the forest. She would encourage me to continue writing in my journal. And she would probably encourage me to be an astronaut when I grew up ;)
When I look at this picture, of the place where I grew up, I can't help but remember the little girl who once lived there and who she has become. A little different, but mostly the same. I like to think that that little girl would be proud of who I am today, and that her only dissapointment would be my hesitation to share my belief in magic with the rest of the world.