Pete and I spent last weekend in Minnesota. We went to a wedding Saturday evening, but earlier that day, I had a chance to go on a long walk/run around the neighborhood and swing at the playground — still one of my favorite pastimes. When I got there, there was a grandmother and her two granddaughters. The oldest, Maggie, was 5. Her sister, Millie, was 2 1/2. Maggie asked me what my name is and I told her that, unfortunately, it doesn’t start with a M.
Maggie took the swing next to me and grinned really big, showing me the front tooth she just lost. I asked if she got a visit from the tooth fairy, and she said she has a special pillow for that — a pillow with a pocket on it.
Millie took the swing on the other side of me, the kind with the two holes for the legs, and asked me what my mom’s name is. Then what my grandmother’s name is. Then it was Maggie’s turn again.
“I like your shorts,” she told me. I was glad to see that my old blue running shorts are still fashionable to Generation Y … or Z, or whatever kindergartners are.
A few minutes later, Millie held her arms up in the air, waiting for her grandmother to get her off the swing. “I need to show Tippany the hole,” she said. “I want to show Tippany.” She got off the swing and cautiously ran in an arc in front of me to avoid my feet in midair. She ran over to the slides — in that shuffle kind of run little kids with short legs do, then carefully walked into a little ditch under the slides, completely amused. It took her three tries to get out of it, saying. “Whoooa!” every time she tipped backwards, then laughing. …
I wish I remember being 2 1/2. I do remember a few things about being 5, like playing in the two-foot high “sandbox” in my kindergarten classroom, scraping up sand with empty ketchup bottles, or reading cardboard books on a beanbag by the cubbies. I remember feeding our classroom mouse Peaches, and learning to square dance in gym class.
I still feel silly when I think about drawing a picture of a brontosaurus for a husky, curly-haired kid named Will, then telling him I wasn’t the one who put it in his cubby even though it had my name on it. I remember spinning on the tire swing outside and the time a hot air balloon landed on the lawn of our elementary school. I still want to go in one of those someday. I also remember my kindergarten teacher, Miss Cruz (not sure how she spelled it), meeting her fiance outside of our mobile unit one day to kiss and look lovingly into each other’s eyes. We spied on her and giggled or said things like, “Ew, gross!”
I really enjoy being a 20-something, but if I could go back to single digits sometimes, I would do it.