I stood on the sidewalk and just watched as they put a bulldozer through my own childhood, to the place I called home...
I couldn't take my eyes of the place where I had literally spent 95 percent of my childhood, the stone porch where my cousins and I sat listening to our aunts and watching the people pass by, to where we hung off the sides, giving our aunts heart attacks because they were worried we'd crack our heads open on the sidewalk beneath us..
I saw a foreman throw away the screen door I had literally run to when I was upset and misjudged the distance from the top step to the door and where I'd accidentally closed the door on my cousin's fingers... repeatedly.
In my mind's eye, I saw my two cousins and I sitting on the picnic table in the yard as kids laughing about who knows what... two little boys and a girl... the girl was talking a mile a minute and the boys were absorbed in whatever she was planning, then suddenly the older of the two boys slapped the girl in the leg and yelled "You're it!" and ran off...
I cast my eyes to the top of the house to those familiar three windows, and remembered how many times we hid up in my aunt's bedroom or playing gymnastics, trying to leap from the stairs to the banister but always missing and dropped like a stone on the steep steps.
To the bedrooms where we slept and laughed at each other when we get up to go to the bathroom, forget the stairs and -- whoops -- would bump-bump down the stairs.
To the time my cousin jumped from the bureau to my aunt's bed, breaking the frame and taping it like she wouldn't notice...
I smiled at the living room window, remembering how beyond that window was the shaggy brown carpet. We'd spend most of time in there watching TV, each one of us curled on a couch, never sitting in the retirement rocking chair because we lived in fear of scratching the closet behind the chair and how we never ever touched the temperamental television. I loved sitting in my aunt's old brown wooden chair.
In fact, my baby cousin and I used to physically fight over the chair and my aunts would have to referee so it wouldn't end in a bloodbath.
My aunt, who was medium, would pull us into her lap even when we were well past the age and call us her babies, which embarrassed us out loud but secretly loved on the inside.
It didn't matter the ceiling was cracked and the paint was chipped, that the house hadn't been updated since the 70s.
Just beyond the living room was the centerpiece of the house, the kitchen where all the women of my family would gather to discuss and make enough food to feed a small country... in that kitchen, you knew you were home because it just made you feel good about yourself and no matter what you said, my aunts would shove food down your throat.
The famous kitchen table where we colored and did our homework, where they wouldn't let us get up until we were 110 percent confident of the material and when I was going through my diagnosis of my learning disability and would stay with them, my mother insisted they work with me, and one of my aunts even years later remembers me switching my hand when I get to the center of the paper, I'd switch hands.
In the kitchen, there was a junk food drawer that my aunts managed to stock with every kind of junk food we loved, and we'd gather like pigs at the trough and we go back and forth until we were literally green from eating too much.
I don't ever remember feeling sad in that house, we were too busy laughing even when I sat on my glasses and snapped them like a twig, my cousin dubbed me knucklehead and held my hand when I had to tell the aunts what happened because I knew they'd freak.
I was lucky because most kids my age didn't have grandparents. I had two of the best surrogate grandmothers and I would spend literally every other week there.
In fact, as a kid when I threatened to run away, my mother would hand me a banana and a sandwich and tell me to head toward the aunts' house,
Somehow this run-down place became a haven for me and to stand here while someone put a bulldozer through it was the most painful thing I had ever gone through. I wanted to run and tell them to stop, that they were making a mistake and that they needed to repair the damage, that tearing down this house would damage my entire family but instead I just watched helplessly.
After a while, when the house was completely torn down and there was nothing left, I got back in my car, blew a kiss at where the door was like I used to and drove off realizing...
Childhood was officially over...
Tell me: what was the moment you realized that childhood was officially a thing of the past?