We took a family walk this week along the bike trail. The trees are turning, leaves are beginning to fall and the cattails, oh those cattails are blooming. The sight of them to the right of me with my family strolling in front of me brought me back to 1984, the muddy grounds of the Warren County airport underfoot, holding onto my mother's hand as we maneuvered the landscape in search of the perfect spot to watch the hot air balloons rise around us. The cattails were blooming then too and as we walked I remember her telling me an intricate tale about cats (I was obsessed with all things kitten) and that maybe, just maybe we could snip one of those cattails to take home. Later that morning the four of us sipped hot cocoa at a diner and in my 8 year old mind life was simply perfect.
For most of my childhood I believed that every kid lived in a two story home with a mom, a dad and a sibling. I also assumed every kid had two sets of grandparents, both of them quite different, but both equally loving. I thought every mom scoped out the clouds to find pictures in the sky, could draw like a real artist (this came in handy for book reports) and knew how to make a killer cake. All dads were strong military men, intensely honest and community oriented, but were also soft as teddy bears. Naive I know, this ideal world I lived in.
The balloons will be flying high all about us this week with the cattails blowing in the breeze and picturesque story filled clouds overhead. I hope Luke and Ellie remember these purely ideal moments of what it is to be a family. The simple hand-holding and discovery. The sharing of a warm drink on a cool morning complete with muddy boots and an afternoon nap. Sweet perfection.