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One thing I find myself struggling with is the loss of childhood people and things. Every time a relative passed away I thought about how things changed: no more Christmas at Grandma’s. No more joking around with Uncle Ray. No more visits to the nursing home when I go to see my parents. The older I get, the more things change. This is inevitable, of course, but for me, it’s hard.

I grew up surrounded by family, because my maternal grandmother was in town as were other family. Hours were spent at Grandma’s table playing cards, eating snack, learning how to put curlers in, and telling jokes. Sunday dinners happened after church, usually with an appetizer course of donuts and chocolate milk. We played for hours at Grandma’s, inside and out. Most of my friends were in Grandma’s neighborhood.

At some point, things slowly changed. Fewer dinners. Fewer hours playing. More hours visiting. Health changed. I grew into an adult. My Great Aunt passed away. Grandma passed, my uncle passed. Then, this year, my Mom passed suddenly. All of those childhood things have gone. I don’t live at home anymore. I don’t have my Mom anymore. Dad’s relationship with me has grown stronger, which is good, but it’s so different without Mom.

The oddest things set off this longing to turn back the clock. As my hometown school district considers closing another school I attended, I find myself hoping they don’t. Logically I know closing it and moving those grades to another campus is the right decision. That school is OLD and needs more work than it would cost to build a new school. But the school they want to close is literally my childhood.

My Dad was a custodian. I was proud of him for this work and still am. And Roosevelt was his building. If Mom couldn’t get me after school, I found a way to Roosevelt to hang with Dad. When Dad had to check the building after hours, I’d ride along. I played in the music room and gym on weekends when Dad had to fix something or check the doors. My sister and I cleaned erasers in what Dad sometimes thought was punishment but for us was fun. We’d walk away with arms covered in marker and chalk dust and he’d shake his head and laugh. I spent time in the boiler room and still know every square inch of that school by heart.

That school is where Dad embarrassed me in front of my math class and comforted me when I was sick in the nurses office. Where he covered my lunch money when Mom forgot to send it. I sometimes wish I’d appreciated being at his building more but I was at the age of “oh my god dad….” instead of the appreciative age.

Knowing that Roosevelt might be torn down kind of struck me tonight as a bit painful. It’s the right decision but it’s another piece of my childhood that’s potentially gone. And for me, it’s a struggle to give up those bits, because there were parts of my childhood that SUCKED and the bits that are going away made me happy.

Maybe it’s grief. I am certainly still grieving my Mother, as she’s been gone eight months and one day now. Eight months has certainly gone by quickly. I’ve taken on Mom’s role in Dad’s healthcare when I can and I know Dad appreciates it. But it’s hard on me, as it would be on any child in this situation. I know now more than ever that Dad will not live forever and I’d better see him while I still can.

I’d give anything for one more phone call with Mom. One more LOOK, one more motherly lecture on whatever choice of mine she didn’t think was a good one. I know she’s looking out for me, she shows me in little ways that I don’t expect. But it’s not the same as her being here.

Tonight I’m nostalgic. I don’t want my middle school to go away even though I know it must. I miss Mom, heading into a long stretch of holidays. And grief is always present, always there, even when I don’t always feel it.

Hold onto your childhood; it goes away far too fast.

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