Everyone is cute when they’re little. There’s something about being so young and full of life that lends itself to genuinely adorable impressions. No fears yet, no social constraints. You just let your imagination roam free as you learn and explore the world around you each day.
The memories of this stage fade over time, but occasionally you can recapture them looking at old photos of yourself from this time. This is what I have been doing – looking over old photos and remembering that magical time. I didn’t have the idyllic childhood, but it wasn’t terrible either. It had its upsets, but somehow despite the absence and occasional reappearance of my father, it remains magical to me.
I grew up in 3 different houses in the same suburb, all within walking distance from the beach. Naturally, we spent a lot of our time there. We used to walk along the bushland (a very narrow strip of it that exists there), and to me it was one huge fairy dell. All the adults around me joined in with my belief that if we walked quietly and carefully, we could hear the fairies talking, singing and dancing. I genuinely believed this for many years, and even now I can’t help but wonder as I wind my way through.
I also have memories of playing in the backyard of the house we moved to after my parents divorce, as my mum weeded and pruned her stresses away. I was constantly exploring the trees and climbing up one, until I could sit on the brick fence and imagine the lives of the neighbours living around us. I really miss this feeling of wonder at everything – I was genuinely curious about how other people lived, and everything was coated in a veneer of magic and mystery.
Now all I have are these old pictures to remind me of this feeling (and of course how I was once cute). On days like this, I like to curl up with my teddy bear and Billy Joel’s “These are the Times to Remember” (the song I graduated high school to, which is perfect for nostalgia) as I reminisce about flying on the swings at my kindergarten playground or planting trees at a local park with my sister’s Girl Guides unit (pictured below).This photo is actually kind of an important one – it was very soon after my dad left us, and as my mum tells me, was kind of the first activity the my sister, her and I did as our own little family unit.
Although it’s not very healthy to dwell on the past and forget to live (as Dumbledore wisely advised Harry), at times it is necessary to pause and remember where you’ve been, and how far you’ve come in life.