field day circa 1995
so you want to know what i remember about my childhood?
we lived in a house. that we built ourselves. with the name fee scratched in cement on the upper-right-hand corner of the driveway.
it was on a half-acre-lot covered in bermuda grass with no back fence. just barbed-wire and a pasture that stretched to the other end of paradise. every once in a while there were horses. and always there were cardinals nesting in the trees.
our neighborhood consisted of only two streets and a series of water ponds and canals.
i walked to school. down three houses. past the pond. up some stone steps. and through the gate. into the school yard i traipsed with a story on my lips and my mom at my side.
i played softball. and soccer. and did day camps and college for kids. there were play dates and pool parties and gymnastics and a children's theatre downtown.
odyssey of the mind? my dad coached the team.
my parents let me pick my pre-school. i went to the one that had the rocket-ship slide. and safari murals painted on the walls.
and i went to public school. and i really don't know how i got so lucky, but it was as all public schools should be.
we sewed dinosaur pillows and had "live" wax museums. i was marie curie.
we hatched chickens and learned to hula dance.
and of course...there was field day. and this was not just any field day. this was field day as it should only be done.
a full day affair. with painted-class-t-shirts. and yummy treats. and hoola hoops and balloon tosses. and races. short races. long races. it was a day in which childhood itself blossomed.
and do you know what else i remember?
the egg-cary race. you know, the race where you balance the egg on the spoon and walk from one point to the next. passing it to a friend, who you are sure cannot do it as well as you?
that's what i remember--being sure, as i watched my friends precariously balance the eggs, that that egg was only safe in my hands.
back and forth. back and forth i watched it go. and i watched my friends watching. watching the egg traverse the lawn. and i realized. i realized, they too thought the egg was safe only in their hands. even as i carried the egg, they too doubted. just as i doubted. and it became clear.
the egg was just as safe in their hands. and it was perfectly safe in mine. but we can't know what it feels like to be someone else carrying the egg. we can only know what it feels like when we ourselves have hold of it.
this life of ours, well, it's our egg. and we're each responsible for our own. and those around us, watching us (parents, friends, and the like), sometimes (actually, often) they want to pick up our egg and carry it for us. because they think they can do it better. but they don't know the egg as we do. they don't know the soft spots and uneven surfaces. they don't know it's tendency to roll to the left, or wobble just before some version of a finish line. they have to trust us. and we have to trust them. and okay, sometimes it's best to let them hold our egg. or move it a few paces ahead. but at the end of the day we are the egg-keepers. all of us. lords of our own eggs.
and it's never safer than when we grab hold of it (gently) and feel for the soft spot and note the flat surface and walk confidently into the future based on nothing more than what we're feeling.