Three generations uncover memories by the creek.
“Mom, it’s done. Do you want to see?” My son’s quiet voice finds me inside my parents’ house—the home of my childhood.
Knowing that he and his grandpa have spent our weeklong vacation working outside, I decide to document the moment. I grab the video camera and hurry to follow him out the door.
I let him lead me toward the path I knew so well as a child. Recollections flash by as we walk. Growing up, I was surrounded by a seemingly endless expanse of green trees and grasses, without another house in sight. I sometimes used to wish for a different setting. I imagined how fun it would be to play in the neighborhoods where the lucky children lived, where playmates were just next door and close friendships blossomed from proximity. But I was stuck with my younger siblings as my only playmates.
My siblings and I were dirty and smelly most days of the week: we climbed tall cedar trees, built forts, discovered animals, picked huckleberries, and got ourselves covered in mud. We ruled over our own outdoor kingdom.
The path leads to the creek, an integral part of my childhood reign. When we’d arrived earlier in the week, that path had been obscured by the pervasive overgrowth that comes when rain and disuse combine in the Pacific Northwest. My son proudly shows the way, providing narration for the video about the work of uncovering the path. I’m amazed. Back home, he is a shy 10-year-old, a middle child with two sisters.
The source for my son’s overflow of words seems to be that he has found a place that he loves and wants to share it. He and his grandpa spent long days hacking away at grasses and bushes to uncover the path. Did my dad know how important this would be for my son?
This is the same man who built our home from the ground up, insisting that his children work alongside him. My six siblings and I were all under the age of 12 during the years spent building the house, but age didn’t seem to matter when a job needed doing. That house is made up of nails we pounded ourselves with our own hammers—doesn’t every young girl have a hammer with her name carved into the wooden handle?
Dad knew we were building something to last, and he wanted his children to be part of that. Again he has taken the time to work patiently with a child by his side; this time, it’s my child.
The newly cleared path continues to lead us onward. We reach the creek at last, and I catch my breath. How many hours did I spend here trapping minnows, building boats, moving rocks, or just daydreaming? My son’s beaming face pulls me back from my memories. “Look at this bridge we built. You can even walk on it.”
I point the camera at the log with a handrail nailed in place for those who might need help balancing—maybe a mom who’s holding a shaky video camera, a mom who used to be a little girl in this very spot. This spot at the creek is one from my own childhood, and now a new scene is being captured on video and imprinted on my heart.
My son walks confidently across the log, and I scramble to follow. I hear him whisper, “I’m going to bring my own children here one day.” And I know he will.
Koriane Glazier is a wife, mother, and grandmother living in Gilbert, AZ.
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