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CASA blog | Remember Being Little?

July 2022

Written by Melissa Cruz, Advocate Coordinator

I remember the walk from the end of the sidewalk down to our pale-yellow home on the corner. The footsteps to my home seemed so many yet when I visit the street now, it’s like, “That’s it?” I recently counted just 5 homes from the bus-stop, but back then it seemed like at least 10!

I loved our home on a road called Paradise Place. Back in the late 70s and 80s it was a beautiful area with lampposts near the sidewalk. I felt safe. I couldn’t say “yellow,” I pronounced it “leh-low” so of course, the kids in the neighborhood would ask me the color of my house!

Remember being little? What were your fears?

My daughter gets scared sometimes, she’s still little. Thunderstorms frighten her. Darkness is scary.

I can relate to her experiences because I remember being little. My favorite show was The Incredible Hulk on Friday nights but it kind of scared me! Back then, one of my fears included quicksand. When we went to my grandparents’ home, Grandpa watched westerns and quicksand was sure to be found. I wondered when it would be that I’d fall into quicksand too!

Another fear I had was being sucked down the drain in the bathtub! Am I alone here?

I remember being intrigued by a set of black-and-white books in the elementary school library featuring photos of Dracula, Frankenstein, and Werewolf. I would look at them but never take them home. I would check from time to time and make sure the monsters were still on the shelf!

So, when my little girl wakes me or shares that she’s scared, even if it’s just a shadow, I comfort her because I remember being little.

Remember being little? You have no money!

Sometimes we forget what it’s like being a kid just wanting some money to buy treats. If we want something as adults, we can just go buy it. But our children need to ask. I loved when we were given a couple coins at my grandmother’s home in Cairo – we’d go outside and down to the corner pop machine to get a cold Big Red or Hires Root Beer! Summertime included bike trips to the store down the road – and choosing the candy pieces to fill our small brown-paper bags.

Remember wanting to stay up at night? I heard my son sighing one night at bedtime and he said, “I just want do something.” He was wanting to finish his game. I responded, “You have 20 minutes and don’t make a mess!” His whole face changed with this grace of bonus time. I remember what it was like to be 12!

Remember being little? You see the world at your height.

My daddy set up this stone bench that I’m sitting on in this photograph. He loved landscaping. Every trip with him seemed to end with candy! I loved going to baseball games with him. I missed him when he left.

When something happens as a child – you make it about “you”. You see the world at your height. When divorce happened at 7, I remember thinking, “I want to be good enough” for daddy to come home. As a child it was hard to experience the loss of our home and school because we had to move – the first of many moves.

I’ve heard it stated that those who have been through something want to help. I know that to be true.

I was appointed to two CASA cases before becoming a supervisor. Both cases took me to the area we moved into after leaving my favorite childhood home. I ended up advocating for children from one of my old neighborhoods. I know what it’s like moving to a place you don’t want to be.

Our children have one childhood.

We cannot stop unexpected hardships from happening, but we can let our children feel our presence and our love within each day. How do we wake them up? How do we send them off to school? How do we say goodnight? How are we connecting with them?

I was doing yardwork last weekend and my daughter wanted to be near me. I was in the flower patch by our driveway. I opened the back hatch of my SUV and she sat with her blankets and dolls and had a ball! I joined her for a much needed snack of Pringles and Capri Sun.

I never saw the view like that. My daughter was giggling. Because she’s still little and the world looks so much bigger at 7 – but with blankets and lovies, you’re protected! Because there’s quicksand out there, I’m sure of it! And she needs to know she’s safe.

I believe it makes a difference – if we pause to remember what it’s like to be little.

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