Haiku: When Childhood Ended
“One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood.” Agatha Christie
Books read by the fireplace
Sweets and Christmas treats
When childhood ended
Bombs, death, and warring factions
A childhood fractured
One of my earliest, happy childhood memories is of being read to as I cuddled up to Mrs Bates by the fireplace. One of my saddest was of being caught in a war-zone and not knowing when it would all end. I can’t say there was one pivotal moment when my childhood ended but, perhaps over time, there were series of events that contributed to its demise. I don’t say this in a cavalier manner or to sound distressed by it. Not at all! I’m just being honest about the fact that most of us go through transformative periods in our lives that force us to grow up and face the realities of life and of adulthood.
“If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.” Tom Stoppard
Time spent in my Dad’s village
Culture spurred events
When childhood ended
Endless losses; school, homes, life
A time of chaos
The hardships that come with living in a time of war and strife includes loss of life, food rationing, and that sense of impending doom and demise. The stream of refugees from other areas grew as the battlefields grew, food supplies diminished and people struggled to save their children’s lives. Such periods of unrest remain etched in our memories and remind us to honor life, enjoy our freedoms with gratitude, and cherish our safety and security. Many people don’t ever see the horrific side of war and what survivors live with for the rest of their lives. Yet, even though I spent a small portion of my life in my father’s village, during a difficult time in our history, there was so much wisdom and learning that took place there, and I still carry and cherish those memories. In a time of chaos and grief we, all of us, experienced nuggets of humanity and grace.
“A graceful and honorable old age is the childhood of immortality.” Pindar
Fun, rain-time play, stories shared
Roasted yams… and hugs
When childhood ended
Slights, hurts, and old narratives
Life shifts … Adulthood
We often don’t remember the exact time/day our childhood ended. Some folks experience tragedies or traumatic events that shut the door on childhood dreams of candy filled days and lolly-gagging. Others find that biological changes bring new desires and experiences, and yet, a handful remain blissfully ignorant of the passage of time and hold onto their childhoods for dear life. Whichever group fits you, claim it. They’re all sound.
Regardless of the childhood you claim, what matters most are the memories we build and hold close to our hearts. When I think of childhood days, what arises in my heart are the travels, the different cultural experiences gained from time spent in varying locations, war-time, and my father’s village: My Dad’s family were farmers and they took their belief in respecting the earth and her sustenance very seriously. It was in Dad’s village that I learned the local language, roasted yams and shared bites with my extended family, and listened to many a great traditional story shared by elders in the family Obi (gathering place). It was in my father’s village that I learned to appreciate life, freedom, the value of family ties and the importance of education. What childhood memories do you cherish? When do you think your childhood ended?
My fellow bloggers were equally creative with their selections. Check out how others interpreted the theme – When Childhood Ends – below.
This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: When Childhood Ends Write about a defining moment in your life when you were forced to grow up in an instant (or a series of instants).
Positive Motivation Tip: Hold unto your happy and sad memories, and always remember to create happier new ones.
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Ralph Hedley’s The Tournament, 19thC Childhood paintings, Baroque Childhood Paintings, 17thC Childhood paintings, 18thC Childhood paintings, Lindsay Mgbor/Department for International Development, kids in West Bengal, via Wikipedia and/or from my Personal Collection.