This I Believe

Natalie - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on February 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Where Did My Childhood Go?

It seems just like yesterday when my mom and dad walked me hand-in-hand up the steps of my local elementary school. They kissed me goodbye and watched my every action, as I entered the shiny-glass doors of independence. Where did my childhood go? It passed by so fast that the blink of an eye was too slow to catch it. What happened?

I could have sworn yesterday I was “graduating” the fifth grade with a huge blissful smile on my face, desperately clutching the phony, blue, crisp “diploma” feeling as if I had really accomplished something remarkable.

In reality, yesterday I meandered to my upstairs (crowded with clutter) closet and managed to open a “sticky” drawer full of long forgotten memories that I guess my mom kept for some good reason: a piece of elementary artwork full of some sort of noodle; a childish paper written with words so jumbled up it was almost “un-understandable”; a tattered, decrepit, worn beyond repair, Halloween costume with ages of dust embedded on it. I gently unfolded the costume, a Disney Pocahontas dress with now dull beads and limp fringe, and I could not believe its diminutive size. Was I really that small at one time? Was it really that long ago? What happened?

I do not remember growing up. I seem to feel the same now as I did then, but with an enhanced perception of things. Although now that I think about it, what happened to the good old days when I ran in dirty, rain puddles, or jumped as high as I could to try to reach the stars, or played an endless game of freeze tag with friends at a “too short” recess? I do not remember these idyllic days ever leaving me, but they did: they slipped away. I lived so much in the “moment” that my childhood days went by at lightening speed, so fast that I had no chance to say goodbye. I believe my childhood went by too fast.