Keeping true

Published 8:00 am Friday, August 18, 2023

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There’s a September-like chill on the breeze that sweeps over my farmhouse each morning and evening. 

Before work each day, I wake up fifteen minutes earlier than I need to just to make sure I have time to drink a cup of coffee on the front porch, and each day after work, I spend my evenings out there, drinking yet another cup of (decaf) coffee. I soak up the enjoyable weather and the nice temperatures and finally look forward to the fall.

On Sunday, I hopped on my dad’s tractor and helped him pull up the stakes from our vegetable garden. From there, he drove me down to my grandma’s yard and pushed a tree that had fallen from a storm into the woods. 

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Dear diary: Summertime is ending. I’m seeing it at my job when I’m starting to report on children going back to school. I’m seeing at home, as my dad and I are plowing up our veggie garden. I’m seeing it outside of home, as, just last week, I followed my niece and our family into the elementary school for her orientation, the very place I attended as a kid.

Every year is one more year I’ve drifted farther from childhood––one extra year that holding onto memories becomes necessary to ensure they last another 365 days. I won’t lose them. I’ll just remember them a little fuzzier each time. 

With the close of summer, I’m fine with the fact that time flew. I skimmed the surface of summer, celebrated a quick Fourth of July and Memorial Day, and then got back to business. 

I have a niece and two nephews, and it hurts to see them grow. It must’ve hurt my parents just as much to see me grow from that innocent little age of believing in magic, knowing it’s not actually real, and needing to cry if I fell down, even though it didn’t hurt that much. 

I remember when bees were scary. I remember when I couldn’t reach the top shelf. I remember when breakfast just appeared on my plate. But I recall the moments as a teenager when the world exposed itself to me in lies, in boys, in iPhones and in social media. 

I tucked into books and escaped a narrow rabbit hole that could have easily sucked me into its wicked ways. I chose the Lord’s path and a tight community of friends, grasping onto the moments of childhood that looked like waking up and going outside. 

The memories that looked like moments without shoes. The memories that looked like catching June bugs in the summer and cozying up in a blanket in the fall. 

Keeping true to the original, unblemished version of yourself is key to surviving in the world. 

They say children are resilient. While it hurts to watch my baby niece walk into a semester that will start her life-long path of making the right choices, fighting the world, and falling down, I can only hope she will still find it in her little self to sing songs she learned at church and latch onto who she truly is for the rest of her life. 

Keep true, readers. Be 10 years old again.