Not long ago, I began a new board on Pinterest when I was feeling particularly nostalgic for my childhood. Specifically, I was remembering the McDonald’s near I-95, down Hollywood boulevard. That was the one with the indoor playground. I remember it had a green floor in that area that was slightly spongier than normal tiling. There were two Filet-o-fish bouncers that sprung back and forth, a slide, and a little climbing type house. But not much else. I was not able to find any photos of pre-plastic monstrosity indoor playplaces but it was one of my favorite places to go.
This led me down a wormhole of things I remember as a kid: Teddy Ruxpin, Lite Brite, telephones with long curly cords(!), Oregon trail, Muppet Babies, Picture Pages, smelly stickers! The list goes on and on and all these faded images made me feel young again – made me relive the feeling of being that kid again. There are few things today than can replicate how wonderful it is to think back on these memories. And every time I get into one of these reveries, I feel as if I can’t *quite* reach the true feeling I want to. I can’t touch them; they’re just fuzzy images in my head but oh, for that brief moment, I am a carefree little girl who likes to ride her scooter over the hump of grass out front and catch a slight bit of air before landing in the street. I am the girl who runs around the perimeter of my huge yard because I love the speed and the feeling of being fast. I am the girl who builds Lego houses and names all the little Lego men. I’m a good student who puts everything into her work and I seem to have balance in my life: school, homework, play, tv, family.
These days I struggle to make sure everyone gets their respective lunches; did all children get a towel for water day? Did I pull out cash for various activities? Is it laundry day? Bottles have to get washed and clean laundry sits in baskets for far too long. I have these grand delusions of you know, reading a book or getting other work done once kids go to bed. But I am always exhausted.
When something triggers a childhood memory though, boy, that’s a magical little moment in my day. Instantly transported back to jelly bracelets and velcro shoes. Riding on the back of my dad’s bike, getting slushies from a trailer parked by the beach. I’m the kid my dad took to McDonald’s for his favorite filet-o-fish sandwich and who he graciously watching play on the plastic toys, the slide, the swings. In that moment, I am free.