Today, I miss impossible things.
I remember being the curly-headed imp in teal tutus and my mother’s wedding heels. Grant was only four, striking even then with faultless blue eyes. We would read together, though neither of us really could recognize the words, and fight over who could hold the book. Our favorite was The Big Red Barn.
Looking at it now, the red canvass binding is fraying at the corners. There are crayon scribbles in the inside of the cover, presumably from one us scrawling our mark into the pages. I miss when the book was brand new, and it felt like every illustration had something hidden in the shadows waiting to be discovered. My favorite picture was of the pigs, but Grant liked the horses.
Then Gage was born, and he was a mass of felt hair and chubby fingers. I was eight, and Grant was six. We no longer read The Big Red Barn. Instead Grant and I took turns telling stories to the smiling cherub in his crib, fighting, of course, over who could hold the baby. The innocence before either of us were teens and knew how to fight is what I really crave today. Now words hurt, and he’s a lot taller than I am for being my little brother.
There are other things I miss, too. When I was a freshman, there was a copper boy and a cross-country team. I liked him more than juniors like underclassmen, but he thought the way my socks never matched was cute and I thought that maybe it could be love. I miss the purity of that mindset, before the copper boy and his constellation freckles decided he preferred girls who matched their socks and left me hiding my feet in my tennis shoes.
Hair like silk and a mouth that loved color, I miss the girl who I called my best friend not longer than a year ago. We joined different teams, found different hobbies, and all together grew apart. It was never a giant fight, but sometimes I wish I had made it one just so we could stay close. I loved her like I think I’d love a sister if I had one, but now I sit back and watch her as she dances on our school’s squad, and I’m very proud of her. I wish I could tell her that, and I miss when I could.
I miss spending summers with my mother’s mom, my Nanny. She hid marbles in the little stream in front of her yellow house, and we kids would go on treasure hunts. She built a sandpile for us to play in. There were toy dinosaurs in it we used for scouring the deserts of the sand hills and used cups to bury in the dirt for lakes. She had a tire swing that lounged across the arms of the grandfather oak in her front yard. Endless creativity flowed from my Nanny. She has an active imagination, and I miss before she lost her eyesight and we spent everyday after school running amuck in her yard. Right now, I’m longing to be pulled into the lap of her sweatpants and have her brush my hair. I want to be called ‘pumpkin’ again. I want to wade into the creek and listen to the trains go by her house. I’d give anything to pick blackberries with her artist hands by the railroad again, and watch as Grant ate every piece of blackberry pie she made from our selection.
I said I’m missing impossible things.
Most of all, I desire the excitement I had before I sat down to write this. Before I knew this would be sad, and not just bittersweet, I longed for the simplicity of childhood. I’m grateful for where I am now, but I just miss a lot of things.