This item originally appeared in the June 24, 2004, issue of The Tech Talk.
Once upon a time I was a child, and I saw the world through a distorted glass.
I remember swinging on a rope swing from a tree with my dad pushing me and my mom saying, "Not so high. Not so high."
I remember playing with the neighbor's cats and picking blackberries while my dad carried me on his back.
I remember holidays with relatives, buying Christmas and Easter dresses, and watching my cousins light up the sky with fireworks.
I remember church. I remember Vacation Bible School, camps and Sunday School. I remember getting baptized, singing specials and sitting on the back pew with my friends.
I remember finding a new pet, feeding my goldfish, going to the zoo, taking home my puppy.
I remember my dad calling me his "favorite precious darling" and when my cousin and I dug huge holes in my backyard just because we wanted to.
I remember my mom and me slipping on ice and both falling down the stairs and laughing afterward. I remember playing tennis in high school and feeling the exhilaration of winning a tournament.
I remember eating fortune cookies and saving the fortunes just to carelessly throw them away three months later.
I remember school. I remember writing contests and receiving peppermints for a job well done.
I remember running in my lawn on cool summer afternoons.
I remember curling up with a blanket and hot chocolate on icy winter nights.
I remember sleep-overs, midnight snacks, renting movies and trying to stay up all night. I remember joy.
Now I see face to face, the entire story.
I remember funerals. I remember the sorrow, the tears, the aching. I remember the smell, the words of so-called comfort, the longing for an end or the beginning of life once again.
I remember hospitals. I remember having needles poked into my arms, staying with my mom before and after surgeries, watching and watching and impatiently waiting. I remember anguish.
I remember seeing relatives divorce, the nostalgic memories of what once was and the loss of what can never be recovered.
I remember the accusations, the despondent hopelessness and the inability to accept defeat. I remember the separation of one family into two halves.
I remember miscommunication, fights, disappointments and rejections. I remember crying on a friend's shoulder. I remember a friend crying on mine.
I remember the desire to protect loved ones from additional sorrow. I remember trying to stand strong, only to fail miserably. I remember wishing for the past, reaching for the past and watching it through memories.
I remember seeing my perfect plan for life collapse around me. I remember desperation of desiring something so horribly, only to realize what a horror it would have been to have it.
I remember brokenness, undeserved attacks and a winter's chill in mid-July.
I remember pain.
I remember a child's incorruptibility being put to the test and faultless faith being ripped away by the world.
I remember growing up. I remember the moment of realization, knowing society stands only for those who are gullible and those who conform, not for those who go against the grain. I remember fighting for lost causes only I seemed to care about.
When I was a child, I saw as a child, thought as a child, remembered as a child. Now I put away childish dreams.
Judith McDaniel is a junior journalism major from Oak Grove and serves as editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.