Any modern mother able to take her children to visit grandparents in her own childhood home, can count herself lucky. In our transient country, it is indeed special to be able to return to the scene of one’s own upbringing.
Oh, the nostalgia and wonder it can evoke: the gravel still crunches under car tires in the driveway; the front door stands unchanged; the house smells the same; the floorboards creak just as before. Yes, the house may be very much the same, yet the modern mother may find herself so very, very different. Have the rooms gotten smaller? How is it, that the lavatory looks so dated? How is it, that the time when she lived here was so long ago?
College, first job, second job, graduate school, a wedding, another job, homeownership, and finally, children have filled the gulf between the shimmering, bottomless hours of childhood and the considered, practical planning of today. Now, many a modern mother knows what she will be doing each week of the summer by approximately June 15th. Gone is much spontaneity and the sense of endless possibility.
So, the modern mother, may revel in watching her children run about, catching lightning bugs in the yard, seeing a child rush through the screen door, letting it slam behind him, or watching him glide his fingers along the same banister as he heads upstairs, dirty and exhausted. It can make her own childhood seem so close, yet untouchable, unattainable, like a mirage. And she can’t take her eyes off the children as they infuse her old home with their spontaneous joy.