The Wonder Years

"... Growing up happens in a heartbeat.One day you're in diapers, the next you're gone, but the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a time, a place, a particular fourth of July, the things that happened in that decade of war and change. I remember a house like a lot of houses, a yard like a lot of yards, on a street like a lot of other streets. I remember how hard it was growing up among people and places I loved. Most of all, I remember how hard it was to leave. And the thing is, after all these years I still look back in wonder." Kevin Arnold, The Wonder Years

What does your past say about you? My past is full of great memories. I miss the days gone by, sometimes. I miss my school days the most.

I miss carefree days, skipping class, bathroom gossip sessions, making new friends, study sessions in the library that were really about catching a glimpse of the boy you were crushing on, and the playboy room.

I miss the days where I could actually sleep in on the weekends, the days of crop tops and mini skirts and wearing push-down socks. I miss ski trips, school assemblies, and after school activities. I miss my Tretorn running shoes and my Esprit and Benetton wardrobe, and thinking I was cool in my Stussy baseball hat.

I miss dances that took place on Friday nights that would leave you wondering what would happen come Monday morning when you saw him again. (Answer: Not much. Perhaps a nod in the hallway, perhaps a smile, but certainly nothing as extravagant as your overactive imagination thought up over the weekend. )

I miss the time I had to read, the time I had to do nothing, the time I had to play dominos and card games in the cafeteria when I should have been in class. I miss classes and teachers, too. I still remember my grade 9 English teacher, Mr. Wiley, who loved Dead Poets Society as much as I did and reminded me so much of Professor John Keating.

I miss my first car, the school parking lot, and the smoking section, where  all the "cool kids" would hang out. I had some of the best conversations in between classes with friends because of the smoking section. I have no regrets, none.

I miss track and field, relay races, and gym class, even though I was so not  sporty. I miss organizing fashion shows and Remembrance Day assemblies, and being in charge of the music, making the programs, and selling tickets.

I miss days that were free of stress, where time stood still, when we were young, and could do... anything we wanted to. The world was our oyster. The world was ours.

Yes, life happens after high school, but those high school days? When we knew a lot, but not nearly enough? When our hearts weren't breaking every day from sad stories, when we didn't have the worries that come with parenthood? Or the bills to pay? When our part-time job and the money we earned went towards new tapes, CD's and concerts? Those were some damn good times. We were fearless.

So many firsts, so much freedom. The first day of school. A clean desk, and a new pencil case. The promise to make this year the best one yet. Exams. Essays. Study sessions. Yearbooks, and the comments we would write each other. It's all we had, those days before the Internet. Just a pen and our words with our phone number written down with promises to stay in touch over the summer.

Graduation day turned into prom night turned into a summer where we were too busy getting ready for university, and then, university... a whole other world of wonder, four amazing years with even more memories.

I'm 35 now, and can hardly believe it. Of course I'm okay with growing older; I feel sexier, I'm more sure of myself, I know what I want, and what I love. My childhood friends are still my very best friends today, and that makes me so happy.

The greatest and most wonderful part of my life happened well after my school days were behind me. Becoming a mom is my greatest accomplishment, and I love knowing that my boys will now experience all the amazing and sometimes heartbreaking things that will come with their school years.

I will be watching, from a distance, memories intact, with a smile.

"Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary." John Keating, Dead Poets Society
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Chris - Canadian Dad said...

I love to check out the old Yearbooks and wonder what people did with their lives.

Funny, I ran into one of my old teachers from AY Jackson the other day and only realized after walking away that it was the first adult conversation I'd had with him my entire life, lol.

Good times!

Avitable said...

I still live like I'm in high school. It's great!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

This was lovely Loukia. And a true testiment to your talent for living life to the fullest - always focusing on the beautiful parts of the world around you.

alimartell said...


Love this. Love you.
I may just be inspired.

Elaine A. said...

You just took me down memory lane with you! I miss those days too, especially the sleeping in part. I feel like that will never happen ever again, right now... ;)

And as they say... those were the days...

Mama Kat said...

I was so ready to grow up back then that I didn't know how good I had it! They really were good times!

SouthMainMuse said...

I did like high school. But think every stage of my life has gotten better. (not less stressful though, that's for sure.) Glad you are able to keep up with your high school friends. I live in a completely different area now.

hilljean said...

I so wish I appreciated the freedom of being a single, childless individual. Of course I wouldn't trade my life now for that one, but MAN! You got me at the sleeping in part. Major.

andie@multiplemama said...

I wish I knew how good I had it back then! I always thought being an adult would give me such freedom. Who knew it was the other way around.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Exactly. While I miss those days, I wouldn't trade the life experience now for anything! and man- I loved my push down socks!

Marta said...

I miss high school. I wish I knew then what I know now. How much I would love to relive it with the confidence I SHOULD have had. I am blessed that I am still friends with my high school friends, but cursed that they all live so far away from me (and all with each other). That said I would not trade what I had for what I have.

I have a tattoo that says vita, a reminder to myself to live.

Angella said...

Beautiful, Lou. You, and this post.

Jenny From the blog said...

My kids are closer to high school than I am... how sad is that???

Stephanie said...

I'm the odd one out who really doesn't miss highschool. I was tall and awkward and unsure of myself. Now those care free summers. Loved those, but I adore my summers now so much more:)

Suzanne McKay said...

I'm so glad those days are behind me, although I do look back and miss certain aspects of it. But the insecurity, the drama, and all the crap that comes with being a hormonal teenager? No thanks!

Awesome post! And I LOVE Dead Poets Society!!!!