Childhood happens between chores and lessons and practices. Growing up rural, there were plenty of chores and lessons and some practices, but there was time too. And old people to watch from their chairs on porches and beneath oak trees. Old women to tell you right from wrong. Old men to tell you had a right to do a little wrong. And time. We had time.
Time to roll in the grass, to lie in the grass, and on Saturday morning to cut the grass. Time to paint clouds and call cars and to stand by the highway and pull invisible cords that real big rigs horns blow.
Time to talk, to debate the pressing issues of day. Which was funnier, Wile E. Coyote or Bugs Bunny? Just how cool was the Pink Panther? Dr. J or Kareem? (the correct answer is the Doctor and if you don’t agree, you’re a doo-doo head). Choo-Choo Cherry or Goofy Grape (and no, RED is not a flavor of drink mix)?
Time to walk and run and ride bikes and explore. To go to the places your parents said not to. To plot and scheme great adventures. To fight battles and learn to make your own peace. To learn the rules of the playground, to learn secrets and trust, and how to not be a tattle tale, even when the belt was a sure reward for silence.
Time to dream, and wish, crush on boys too dumb to notice and long for girls to cool to care and to learn to survive tiny breaks in the heart.
Childhood happens between chores and lessons and practices. And the gift we give our children is time