Saturday, February 21, 2015

Throwing snowballs at memories

All this snow and ice and wind and all the school closings and being around my kids, watching them react to everything, has brought me back, time and time again, to childhood and growing up in the North.

This morning, while listening to Pandora and Depeche Mode Radio (yup...still stuck on it), Pet Shop Boys were singing about West End Girls and I thought of my younger brother. A few days ago, he'd sent me (and boy-child) an email with a link to that song's video on YouTube. Apparently any time my brother hears music like that he thinks of me. So just a little while ago, when it came on Pandora, I sent him a text message just to say hello.

So, I guess you're probably wondering (besides the obvious) what one has to do with the other. Simply that one of my strongest memories of winter and childhood and North is the time that my brother and I (and a couple neighborhood kids, if I remember correctly) got it into our heads that it was a good idea to throw snowballs at passing cars...after dark. I don't remember who came up with the idea, and it doesn't matter, but we had fun. For all of about one minute.

One of the cars that received a barrage of snowballs stopped short in the middle of the street and the driver came flying out – FURIOUS – and chased us through the neighborhood. I remember being absolutely terrified that he'd catch us and it made me sick to think about how much trouble we would get in. I don't remember what happened to the other kids we were with, but I vaguely recall hiding in the bushes until the very angry driver man went away. It's all kind of a blur, actually. But my brother and I made it home safe and sound.

I don't really remember if our parents ever found out about that and I suppose, all these years later, it doesn't make any difference. The things we do as kids define us, in some way, as adults and I am sure, beyond a doubt, that was the first time I ever feared being caught for doing something I knew, deep down, probably wasn't a good idea. Which is probably why I never got into too much trouble growing up and in teenage years, and in my young adult life. Fear.

Oh, believe me, I had plenty of opportunities to get into a TON of trouble, but somehow I managed to keep myself together and stay out of it. I'm lucky. My life could have turned out so differently if I'd been even slightly less fearful of things.

It's interesting to me that as an adult I've shed a lot of my old fears and, in some cases, formed brand new ones; especially where my children are concerned. I fear for their health, well-being and safety more than anything else. It's the reason I get so upset when boy-child does something downright stupid and risks his own safety. I know, I know, boys do stupid things and at some point all of my fear for his safety and well-being isn't going to amount to a hill of beans and yes, he's going to have to learn his own lessons. But maybe, just maybe, while he's still young, I can instill some awareness in him that will protect him in some way when he's older?

I don't know. I'm sure he'll have his own throwing-snowballs-at-passing-cars-after-dark-and-being-chased-by-a-mad-man moment, but hopefully it will only serve to make him a better, more thoughtful person. I still haven't quite figured out what it did to me.


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