Sunday, December 22, 2013

Night crawler Christmas

I don't remember too many of my childhood Christmases, but one that does stand out in my mind is what I refer to as "Night Crawler Christmas."

I don't know how old I was, probably 9 or 10.  I don't know what I received as Christmas gifts.  I don't even really remember that it rained a lot that year.

What I do remember is my dad, my younger brother and I walking the streets of our neighborhood with buckets in hand, picking up some of the thousands of worms that sought relief from the over-saturated ground by crawling onto the roads.

The neighborhood in which we lived didn't have curbs as we do in our neighborhood now.  Drainage wasn't as engineered so the worms didn't have to do as much work to get to the pavement.  The roadways were absolutely covered with worms.

I don't remember what we did with the worms, whether dad saved them for future fishing excursions or if we dumped them in the grass once we had finished trolling the neighborhood.  But I can clearly see us meandering the empty streets, my brother and I excited with every wiggler we delicately lifted from the concrete.

As a mom, I worry that my children will remember every little thing I do or they experience, specifically all the things I fuck up in my job as mother.  The times I yell and am not especially nice.

So memories like this are soothing in that they are a nice reminder of how much I don't recall of my childhood.  I don't remember all the times my parents lost their tempers with me or did things that I thought were completely unjust and mean (although now I understand those decisions were likely completely reasonable and justified).   I don't remember every unpleasant experience that life threw at my childhood self.

My memories of childhood are dim, feathery shadows with the occasional clear outline of true remembrance, like the night crawler Christmas.  I remember the oddities of my childhood experience, the unusual, the unplanned.

Probably most people's memories work like this, or perhaps this is one of the blessings of the OCD brain.

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