100 DAYS OF HAPPINESS

100 DAYS OF HAPPINESS

Day 98: Mom and I had a wonderful time at Joan and Charlie’s last night for dinner and chat–I even watched a little TV. Well, Charlie wanted Mom to watch The IT Crowd (a favorite of mine) and both of us to watch the wedding episode of Doc Martin (I stopped watching it after Luisa gave birth).

We stopped at the market to pick up food for my dinner, Pad Thai, and Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss “ice” cream for dessert. Mom grabbed a six-pack of vegan cupcakes and a pint of organic raspberries as hostess gifts and off we drove to my old neighborhood. No, no more woe-is-me-ing about the bad times. I created my own “closure” (annoying word, I know) and concentrate on the good times of kid-dom now.

Mine was the last generation to know a unique freedom, lack of fear (or play dates, summer camp, 24/7 sports and instrument practice, iPhones), and desire to be outdoors as kids. Giddy with anticipation, we’d count down the last days of school. Summer was a vacation at home as much as a week at the beach.

I’d wake up, throw on shorts and a teeshirt, down some cereal, and race out the door to meet friends–we knew everyone in our neighborhood–to play, wander, walk (through the woods!) to the pool, ride bikes, skateboards, listen to music, or guiltlessly do nothing.

I turned brown as my hair grew blonde from countless hours in the sun. We’d recite our pool pass number at the front desk and head left, flip flops slapping wet cement in the chlorine-scented women’s room to reach the pool area. Oh, that first jump into the cool, sparkly, aquamarine water after the traditional dip of the toe. And the grumbling when the lifeguard called, “Adult Swim!”

In my future sunny yellow bedroom, the challenge was on between Dad, Jill, and me to read every Nancy Drew mystery one summer. I entertained myself playing “Teacher” with my coveted two-sided blackboard and shiny sticks of chalk in the dining room. Mom gave me old teachers’ textbooks–with the answers in RED type–she found at work and “attendance” and “grade” books for my stuffed animal students.

After reading Harriet the Spy, I grabbed pad and pencil and crept outside to note any strange goings-on in my neighborhood. Besides Mrs. Green’s constant bellowing at her kids, my neighbors proved decidedly dull. No matter. There was always tomorrow, and that same sweet thrill as my eyes fluttered open that anything could happen.

I sense that same thrill building during these last days in suburbia. Maybe I’ll re-read Harriet the Spy before commencing with people watching in DC.

Lack of communication is unhealthy.

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