Vicarious

I’m sure all parents at some point live vicariously through their children, that is their children bring back memories through their actions. I’m certainly no exception. I find that my kids have given me the permission to reminisce about my boyhood days and as a result I’ve found myself attempting to give them some of the same fun experiences I had.

We all have these good memories that surface when our kids start growing, and I can only imagine what memories will come to mind, as they eventually become men. I’m aware not all childhoods were wonderful and maybe difficult to find memories you want to cling to, but to my parents credit this is not what I experienced. With this in mind, I just wanted to share some kindergarten thoughts and experiences that I hope my boys will also enjoy. I’ve broken them into several categories.

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T.V.

In the year 1994 a runaway asteroid comes between the moon and the earth. The moon is destroyed and the earth cast in ruins. 2000 years later a new world is born; a world of savagery, sorcery, and super science. But one bursts his bonds to dispense justice and keep the peace. He is Thundarr the Barbarian along with his companians Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel.

Goodness gracious this was the coolest cartoon ever. My brothers and I watched it whenever we could catch it on Saturday mornings. We watched Thundarr, the Superfriends, Spiderman and his amazing friends, Heman, Thundercats, GI Joe, and even the end of Muppet Babies (just to watch the computer graphic Spiderman doing a backflip on a marvel logo). These little cartoons, filled with creativity and notable innocence still sit in the recesses of my mind, and I love it. It’s so much fun introducing the boys to these cartoon characters and to hear Archer say “Ookla the Mok”. Of course, this transcends to books, toys, recreational activities, and all facets of my childhood.

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Books

My boys are five and almost four, so naturally as a child born in the mid-seventies I could not imagine a childhood without the loveable Berenstein Bears. Their stories of morals and family values are wonderful, but there is also something about the way they are illustrated that I enjoy. The three-bedroom tree house that always has a different background to fit the plot line makes me grin as I read these stories to my kiddos. To the Berenstein’s credit, I find myself using lines from these books to better explain things to my children. Only later did my brother and I realize that it was a Berenstein that wrote and illustrated the Creature Catalogue, I book I checked out more than once from our public library (very hard to find now).

Toys

My brothers and sister and I had plenty of toys: Star Wars, Heman, GI joe, MASK, Transformers, the occasional Go-bot, Super Powers toys, Muscles, and some garbage pale kid cards from the ice cream man to name a few. Aside from action figures which my twin brother and I perpetually played with, we all were hooked on the Mighty Men and Monster Maker. This was a truly amazing toy that allowed you to create your own monster or super hero by placing exquisitely designed plates of heads, torsos, and legs in a channel with a drop down frame to keep your paper still. You then simply rubbed the edge of a crayon over the paper to reveal your new hideous creation. Little did I realize at the time how much the imagery of those monsters or heroes would stay with me as I drew my own pictures. I believe this mini printing press taught me something about proportions and craftsmanship. As a professional artist today, of course I value the benefits of this contraption. It took a while but I tracked one down for the boys, whose eyes widen like mine once did when we pull it out of their closet.

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Church

Soon my boys will be going through First Communion, a memory I kind of remember. I know I didn’t appreciate the significance of what I was taking in, literally. Maybe this is the same for all first graders, and will be for my boys, but I do remember the reverence of it all. This was the first time, aside from my infant baptism, that I could take part in and felt apart of something communally. I remember being dressed in a suit with a clip on tie and feeling so important, I knew about Jesus and I loved him and this church acknowledgment certainly kept that love burning. I was given a small First Communion book with a side pocket and a card of Mary and a plastic rosary. Today, the boys are inquisitive about Jesus and often lead the family in prayer at the dinner table. When they are sick, the boys and I pray together as I rub their backs with an egg, another memory of mine (thanks Mom). The boys seem to like it, because they are beginning to feel “sick” just to get an egg massage.

Camping

Amy and I purchased a Scamp camper about two years ago, and we are putting it to great use. This is only natural, we live in Alaska. But I wonder if we would have made the decision to buy a camper if this had not been part of my childhood. Growing up, we typically used tents, but I do have great memories of camping in our pop-up camper. Even the smell of my scamper reminds me of that pop-up. Maybe it’s universal? All I know is spending time with my family in the outdoor is always an adventure and always a great memory (this could be said for then and now). Before my sister was born we took that pop-up on a circular trip from Omaha to Yellowstone to the Black Rapids area. Some of these memories blur together, but I cling to reminiscence of the sound of our kerosene lantern and the rain hitting the vinyl above our beds. Know I live through my boys’ new found love of the outdoors and nature. In nature, they seem to be able to hike further, play harder, smell stronger, and all together live a little larger. My plan is to keep this going. Scouts immediately come to mind. Cub scouts, Boy Scouts, it was all good for me, and the day will come when my boys will be earning merit badges, lashing logs together, and building pinewood derby cars.

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We’ve actually started already. Justice and I couldn’t wait another year to make a derby car, so we just did it. In truth, I had to make one for my work, but Justice and Archer were excited to be a small part of it. Making the modest pine car was so much fun. It’s not very often that I dust off my dremmel kit, but playing around with designs, painting and even racing, puts me back in fifth grade, clad in my high Cub Scout socks winning the most “Boy Made” car. Later I realized just what that award implies, but whatever it was a blast. My kid world was a blast, and I know whom to thank for this.

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Thank you Mom and Dad for a wonderful childhood! I love you guys! My hope is my boys feel the same when they are my age, and maybe they will enjoy living vicariously threw my grandkids. That’s my hope anyway.

 

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