Driving through Hyde Park recently, I passed the Methodist Church where I once enrolled my 3-year-old daughter in “Mother’s Morning Out.” For a nominal fee, children played from 9 a.m. until noon, under the supervision of an elderly couple (probably my current age, but without benefit of hair color or moisturizer.)
My darling Katie cried for all three hours – no amount of cajoling from the couple could stem her tide of tears. After three unsuccessful attempts, they suggested I keep her at home. In disbelief, I stood outside the playroom one morning and listened to be sure their claims were true. Her whimper escalated to a wail and, when neither of us could bear it any longer, I rushed in to retrieve her.
Sitting in my car at the stop sign, I felt the same raw anguish in the pit of my stomach. It could have happened yesterday – the pain was so real. Oddly, my daughter is now 31 and contemplating a child of her own.
I am continually amazed by the power of place: so strong, it can transport you to another time. Sheer geography – bricks and mortar – can elicit memories so vivid they can bring you to a smile (or a sob) in an instant.
Have you ever experienced it (or should I contact a mental health professional immediately?)