My grandmother called me on my birthday last weekend.

She sounded….old.

Older than I remember.

And it made me realize that I haven’t seen her in a while.

You know how with each birthday you acknowledge, obviously, that you are getting older…and you know in the back of your mind that everyone else is too….but you don’t really dwell on the others the way you do your own age.

Hearing my grandmother’s raspy voice through the phone took me back to a distinct memory from my childhood.

The three of us, my younger siblings and I, spent a week with her one summer. I was in grade school…I think. I can’t remember exactly. I think Amy was young enough that I still carried her around. But then again, I did that far longer than I should have. I did that until I couldn’t pick her up anymore.

My brother and I climbed the tree in the backyard. We caught fireflies in jars. We ran around Grandma’s backyard in our pajamas after baths one night. There was one guest bedroom with one bed, and all three of us slept in it. Our Uncle put us to sleep one night with stories. Not from a book. From his mind. I remember one about a parrot. A parrot on an island. Or something like that. It was strangely, wildly, comforting.

As she wished me happy birthday, she mentioned she couldn’t believe I was 25.

“I’m getting old!” I joked.

She laughed.

“Oh hunny. You have so much life to live.”

I remembered how she used to scratch my back until I fell asleep.

And I thought.

How beautiful it is to be a child.

How free.

How fast.

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.” ~Anthony Brandt