When I was a child….

“Childhood memories are the sweetest part of our past”. I believed in that quote though not everything in my part. I should say bittersweet memories of my past. As my life moves forward, a lot of old memories gradually fades away as new ones replaced them. I want to reminisce some of my childhood moments, happy and sad, before they totally fades away in my memory.

I was born in a big and poor family, fourth in five siblings. We were living with my grandparents, two uncles and an aunt in a two-storey old house. Our place was in the ground floor, which actually doesn’t have a decent floor, just simply soil floor, where the comfort room is outside the house. We only had a wide bamboo-made bed just enough for us to sleep. I remember my mom always put me inside a pigpen everytime I cried so loud and sometimes my dad placed me inside a sack just to stop me for crying. I was really a loud crybaby back then. When my Dad worked overseas, my mom invested for a small piece of land and started to build our own house away from our grandparents. And that house is where we still live until the present. We moved there when I was six. Our new home is located in the middle of the field and our nearest neighbor then was 200 meters away from us. Not fully furnished, no electricity when we moved, but I felt so happy because we have already our own home.

Most of my vivid childhood memories happened in our new neighborhood. All around our house was a huge playground for me and my siblings. I experienced to play all kinds of outdoor games, as we didn’t have toys to play nor a television and gadgets at that time. We spent most of our spare times playing outside. My mom also trained us to do household chores when we were young, from cleaning the house, washing dishes, cooking and doing laundry. We need to learned everything for us to become independent. We were only allowed to play after doing homework and after we finished our tasks. After my father died when I was nine, part of my childhood suddenly changed. Time spent in playing lessened as we need to focus how to help our mom to earn to support us. My three older sister needed to work part time in a nearby chips factory, and I was left to baby sit our baby brother after school. During summer vacation, I also worked in the factory to save some money for preparation to the next school year. But I still find ways to escape to play after school, but only to get scold by my sisters when caught.

I also remember then that I never experienced to celebrate my birthday. As a kid I wonder why I never had cake and balloons during my birthdays unlike other children my age and I just thought then that only rich can afford to celebrate birthdays. I used to have new clothes only once a year during Christmas, most of my clothes were second hand from my sisters. But of course I never complained about it to anyone as I fully understand our situation even at the very young age. I knew then that there were more important things to spend rather than buying a cake or new clothes.

A lot of material things I never had when I was a child, and it taught me how to be contented. I learned to appreciate things even the simplest one. Though there were some hardship, it’s nothing compared to the happiness I had when I was a child. And I am fortunate enough to experienced both joy and sadness during my childhood as it made me an independent and stronger person today.

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