I miss the days of my childhood. The numerous days filled with playing and only playing, no chores or homework to worry about, no responsibilities or places to be; the days that you could only describe as carefree. It was easy to be a kid, running around freely without a care in the world. How little we had to worry about when we were in our Monkey Pod tree, at home in the kitchen, or at grandpa’s house.
I remember the days when we swung from the branches of the old Monkey Pod tree pretending to be the monkeys we’d seen in the zoo; the thought that we looked silly never crossed our minds. We didn’t care about any one else’s opinions unlike the girl’s of reality TV shows like Laguna Beach. Broken nails may have made us cry but it didn’t stop us from climbing more. We were enjoying ourselves with no other care in the world. The rough bark of the tree left our hands RED, raw and forming blisters but we continued swinging and climbing; sore hands were nothing mommy couldn’t fix later. All the neighborhood kids would play on the tree together. We didn’t fight much and if we did it was usually about who had to be “it” first for tag. In our tree we forgot about any other obligations our parents may have given us. It was our place of sanctuary even though we didn’t have much to run from.
One by one the neighborhood kids headed home for dinner, me and my sister raced each other down the big hill towards mom’s its-dinner-time voice calling us in from the days play. The grass scratched our legs as we tried to run as quickly as we could. All the playing had distracted us from our hunger until we sat in our seats to see a plate full of chicken nuggets ready made for us. All of a sudden we were famished. So we sat quietly and ate our chicken nuggets with our hands, never pausing to think about germs, manners or our prayers. I loved dipping the nuggets in to the creamy ranch dressing, it always made the nuggets taste cool and less salty. The country music mom loved surrounded my ears and my body swaying slightly with the beat flinging chicken nugget crumbs everywhere. I would jump from my chair, throw my empty-all-except-for-the-crumbs plate into the sink with a loud “clank” for mom to wash later.
But nothing compared to being at grandma and grandpa’s house. Grandpa’s house was b i g and full of things to explore and he didn’t mind you being niele, like mom did. You could do anything your mind could possible imagine and you wouldn’t get in trouble either. Riding our two-wheeler bikes up and down the private road without looking both ways for cars or buses was our favorite thing to do. If the right aunty or uncle happened to be working today we dropped our bikes wherever we were and ran to them to go get the candy they always had just for us. But no candy compared to the savory taste of grandpa’s mangoes picked fresh from our tree and the feeling of the sticky juice covering my face and hands. There was so much to do that we kept ourselves busy and by the end of the day we were worn out. Rolling around on the ground with the dogs down the grassy hill in my Sunday’s best always left my skin itchy but it was nothing out of the ordinary. If anything grandma would wash my clothes till there was not one grass stain left and mom would never know. I had my own room in papa’s house because I was the favorite grandchild; being first born was a special privilege you didn’t have to earn. Grandma and grandpa spoiled me and being spoiled meant never having to worry about cleaning up my messes or making my bed, and that grandma would do it all for me.
In the Monkey Pod tree, at home in the kitchen and especially at my grandparent’s house there was nothing to worry about. Responsibilities were few when you were young. I would come home stained brown from head to toe with the soil that housed our tree’s roots, leave a mess in the kitchen, or even spend the whole day playing at grandpa’s house. As I child my life was filled with about as much cares as a caterpillar and that’s just how I liked it.