Saturday, April 10

the weight of time

There seems to be a standard rule for the relationship of people years to dog years. I guess it helps people to understand where their dogs are at in their lives.
But I don't have a dog.

I have punks.

And I've been thinking a lot lately about the ratio of grown-up to lil'punk years. It's not so simple to understand.

They're clearly different. I can remember finding it nearly impossible to utter the phrase "nineteen eighty." It seemed like the planet had been knocked off axis when teacher informed us that it was no longer seventy-nine. What was the world coming to? And I'd struggle to wrap my aural cavity around eighty without gagging. Seventy nine was so smooth. Had the world gone mad?

And the monumental leap that every birthday brought. The wait for Christmas. Or recess. These memories cause me to speculate that it must be at least 10 kid years to every grownup year. And how much of who we are is defined by those first 10-20 years? Do you think I'm crazy? Letting nostalgia run amuck? Of course, those are the "formative years." Maybe think about it this way... How much does the 9th year weigh in relation to the 39th?

Some thirty years later I could tell you some good stories about my 9th year. My youngest brother was born. I remember the camping trip when my parents told me and my two younger brothers that we were going to have a new sibling. And the bets were immediately placed between my brothers and I. They wanted another brute to gang up on me with. I wanted a sister I could play dress up with.

I remember spending the evening with my Aunt DD when my Mom and Dad went to the hospital. She had finally piled us into the car to take us to her house to spend the night when my Dad pulled into the driveway. I jumped out of the car and he yelled "It's a boy!" I was so pissed.

And I remember taking the new brother to school for show and tell. I remember our third grade play. Being asked to decorate props instead of reading a part because I just couldn't speak up loud enough. I remember being in love with Chris Kirby (he was the lead) and hanging out every day with him and Jason on the playground. Playing "heart and soul" on the piano.

It all gets a bit diluted when you're a grown up. Memories come in terms of decades or eras. In my twenties, our college days, or when I was dating Garth. And now I'm thinking... worrying (I never worry) about this weight of three years and how it feels to me and how it might feel to my punks. We've both been thrown into this new culture and soaked it up in different ways. I think to a greater extent they've just lived their lives. They've gone to school and had the birthdays and Christmas' and the long wait for recess. And I've done some of that too. But at the same time I don't think I ever lost this sense of being in another world. And if I had, could I leave it behind? What chunk of their lives are we forcing them to part with? What fills up their hearts and what will be carried with them for the rest of their lives? It's 3 years for me. Three amazing years. What's that weigh in punk years?


  1. I remember being like, oh wow, a year with a small number at the end of it. Which was just like so ...odd.

    What really hacks me off is talking to an adult and they revel they were born in an era that I regard as having birthed only little, tiny children, not huge big things that work, fall in love and have kids of their own.

    And you are right on the button about how time lasted longer when we were small, a year used to be an eternity, whereas now I blink and another one has slipped past without me noticing it was there.

  2. Remember how long high school seemed? Four years but it was a lifetime.

  3. I think the three years will be remembered in a magical way for them. Not like they got there through a wardrobe or anything, but magic all the same.
    The world is just the world when you are small, but as they grow up and move back to the states Italy will be a place of whimsical reverie.
    Don't look at it as a chunk you are forcing them to part with, look at it as the rare Crackerjack prize they get to keep.

    That's right, they got the pink hippo tattoo.

  4. I took my little brother to show and tell, too. :) Lovely pictures of your punks.

  5. Anonymous8:36 AM

    I think kid time is times 4 of what adult time is. Which is why we could play an entire game of baseball in a 15 minute recess at school. And summers were endless.


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