I never really thought I had a happy place that some people talk about. Then in 2004 I had to leave college. I would lay in bed at night unable to sleep really as I pondered my future.
Then one night as I lay there I remembered this moment from my childhood that always pops into my head from time to time over the course of my entire life so far, and as I thought about it I felt myself slip into oblivious sleep.
Every night I thought about it, and still do sometimes if I’m having trouble sleeping, or if I’m upset. Here’s the memory:
I’m probably about four years old, and my mom and I are at Chapman Park which was a 2 minute walk from our apartment at St. Paul Street. It’s a gorgeous warm day out, with next to no humidity, probably late spring or early summer.
The sky looks huge, like a giant blue dome overhead with only a wisp of a cloud here or there. I’m on the merry-go-round that they had put in fairly recently. The floor of it is divided up into broad wedges like big giant pizza slices.
At the middle is a round panel that covers where the pointy ends of the slices would be. The wedges are different colors, I remember blue and orange and purple, and I think green. I seem to remember the center circle being red but I’m not sure.
The railings to hold onto on it are bright yellow. I’m sitting on the edge holding onto a railing and my mom is pushing me around and around. I’m giggling and screaming for her to push me faster and she is.
She looks so young and vibrant and full of energy. Marriage to my father hasn’t worn her down yet, and she just looks so happy. Just a young mom and her kid at a park in a dumpy neighborhood on a beautiful day enjoying a fairly new merry-go-round.
This memory had always popped into my head from time to time ever since it happened, and it always made me happy. When it knocked me out cold lying in bed in 2004 I knew then that it was my happy place, probably the moment that I was happier than I had ever been or ever have been since.
When I remember being there, and when I see how beautiful and happy my mom looked it makes me sad to think of all she’s been through. It makes me sorry for every crappy thing I’ve done in life, whether she knows about it or not.
I feel sorry for any time I’ve let her down, or any time I’ve said something that’s hurt her. It’s my happiest memory, but it also makes me think of the bad things I’ve done since then, when I was really innocent and it makes me not want to repeat those things, or make the same mistakes again. I hope one day that I have a kid who has a happy place memory with me in it.