You Have Always Been on My Heart
Siwy overalls via Shopbop.com, Sunday Rocks men’s t-shirt via Kitson, Bebe shoes, Anthropologie earrings
Growing up in a small town in New Jersey (just 20 minutes outside of New York City), I had a charmed childhood. I had the love of who I deem “the best parents in the world” who stopped at nothing to give me and Bec happy and beautiful existences in this world. We were overachievers- we had all of this energy in these little packages. We were the first ones to wake up at sleepovers. Our voices colored the black nights while we talked until slumber enveloped us when we shared a room. Bec and I held full-fledged beauty pageants- complete with the Introductions, Swimwear, Talent, Evening Gown, and Questions rounds. We acted as each other’s judges even though we were best friends. And we definitely did not always crown ourselves as Miss America. We held singing and acting contests in the backseat and our parents presided as the judges in our drawing competitions. Instead of making snowmen, we created white stegosauruses and turtles. I was a fortune teller, princess, Miss America (yes, it was a reoccurring theme), belly dancer, a sheep to Bec’s Little Bo Peep on the last day of Octobers past. I would climb on a step stool to swipe my mom’s red lipstick from atop my dad’s dresser. I was too young to wear it. But I fancied it because it made me feel fancy.
But I was also someone else. So was Bec. We loved chasing after crush-worthy boys in the ruffled dresses that my mom had sewn for us, but we had an equally flirtatious time doing it in sweatsuits. When we woke up at 6am just because- we braided our friendship bracelets and ran outside to play dodgeball with a koosh ball and the boys. These were a different set of boys- our neighbors. Our street was infused with so many of these boys (and us few girls) that the entrance sign to my street said “Caution” and below a reference to us- “Children”. We played every form of running game- Tag (both freeze and movie versions), Red Rover, Red Light/Green Light, What Time is it Mr. Fox?, Manhunt, and others that conjured up beads of sweat. We played established ball games- Spud, Croquet, Bocce Ball, kickball, and basketball, along with many others that we imagined up. It seemed like we could make up anything to be a game and it was fun. Games were reserved for the street so our hearts were still in tact. We ran with the block boys and we loved it. We weren’t in it for the scrape our knees, starry-eyed fall in love moments. We were knee-deep in it with our friends. And when snow tickled our red noses, we shared the mentality that when we were knee-deep in powder, the only real sensible action item was to build an igloo. And when we were done making our half-sphere of a fort, we’d sit in it sipping hot chocolate. We leaned back and then down looking at the tiny marshmallows happily floating along in our mugs and we felt connected to them. We were little kids who happily floated through our childhoods with one another. And our block was each of our mugs- allowing us this safe area in the world to just be….
This is that predictable part in a recollection when the writer says “And I’d like to go back.” But I don’t feel that way. These are perfect times floating along in my memory and I can visit them anytime I want.
*This post was inspired by and dedicated to my favorite block boy who I reconnected with this week. He will always remain a cherished childhood friend. He said, “This is like a dream come true. You and your sister have always been on my heart.” Same here.
P.S.- I thank everyone who has already voted. Please continue to vote for me here every 24 hours until February 1st. Your vote does not count until you validate it by clicking on the link in the e-mail you get. Your support has touched me. Lately, I’ve been saying so many “Thank you”s that I wish there was a stronger word that encompasses the 10 exclamation points I like to add to the end of this phrase. I offer smiley faces too, but just know that you’ve made me smile much more than the virtual ones show!