I will be the first to say that life is busy.
It is stressful.
It is exciting.
Most nights lately, I lay awake, long past the bedtime that my body really desires, all the children sleeping soundly, but my mind, still going.
This is partly due to the hormonal cycle that is ever so fun, and partly due to my mind wanting to plan and organize EVERYTHING ahead of time.
I have to shut my mind off.
When I was younger, I would picture one color, and would try to not think of anything else, and that would usually be enough to knock me out.
No counting sheep here.
But the other night, if I tried that, that one color would lead to many, and where they could fit in at the new house..
I had to think of something totally separate from life now, something that would help me to relax and find sleep.
If I didn't have two or three rooms in boxes blocking the cabinet where I keep all of the scrapbooks, I would post pictures, but hey, I am tired.. ;)
I recently got in contact with my best friend from childhood (thank you facebook!!), and while I thought of her often before, re-living many fond memories, I am thinking of my childhood in my neighborhood, so much more than usual. The days where we would play all over the neighborhood, playing capture the flag, bulldog, and when the sun was setting, mom would yell out the back door for us to all come home.
What a simple life.. I loved it. I miss those days.
That was where I let my mind go the other night as I was trying to find something soothing, something to get me to stop my mind and go to sleep.
I started with my own back yard.. the garden, what we grew there. The combination to the shed where we kept our bikes. How I would play G.I. Joes with my brothers outside at the far end of the garden where nothing grew after the pumpkins took over. I remembered how we built huts out of dried grass and mud, then a flood came and wiped-out their village. There would be an intensive rescue effort, and once all the action figures were located, we would do it all over again.
I remembered my best friend, Melissa's house.. the giant patch of daisies at the front of her house, near the hose where we would drink from in the summer time. The gate to her adventure-filled back yard. Remembering all the trees that grew there, and bore fruit that we would eat right from the trees. The tree house where we played for countless hours. Sliding on her "Crocodile Mile" (much like a slip and slide, but way better to us!). Balancing on the railroad ties that held the strawberry patch and flower beds. We would play fox and geese in the winter in our snow-covered yards, and build snow forts to have huge snowball fights with our brothers.
Sitting in her cozy basement, smelling the wood-burning stove, eating saltines while watching M*A*S*H or Jeopardy with her dad.
Playing our made up game of "Business".
There was nothing in the world like finding a comfy pillow to sit on in their solarium and read books there.
But then again, there was nothing like her mother's homemade bread, warm out of the oven with butter melting on it..
That is the bread recipe I use to this day..
We spent birthdays together, hers always at Tony's pizza, just her parents, she and I.. mine, we were always at my house, having a slumber party, eating junk food. Eating lots of cake. Laughing until carbonated beverages came out our noses.
Christmas always brought peanuts, in the shell to her house, and we enjoyed playing with our new toys together.
We also used to have marathon Monopoly and LIFE games. They would go on for hours, and one summer I think it was days!! Our favorite treats during those games were lemon-lime Shasta and the family style bag of licorice, always saving the black for the last.
Once Junior High hit, there was the inevitable separation. She was far more talented than I was, she knew exactly where she was going in life. She played what seemed like a gazillion instruments, to my 3 years of piano.. was incredibly talented and intelligent, and went on to drum major in high school, sterling scholar.
I just went with it.
But there were still the Christmas gifts, and birthday gifts, run from door to door every year.
So many fond memories.
I fell asleep somewhere around picking green beans in her garden while avoiding the daddy long legs and picking dandelions to earn a penny for each from her mom..
I slept well that night.