My first real encounter with history was when I was five years old. It was my first day of Kindergarten at Good Shepherd, and I was dressed in a horrid little navy jumper. Tights, too, probably, because tights really suck.
I don't remember what time school was actually supposed to start, but my dad always left for work really early in the morning--I mean, still-pitch-black, might-as-well-be-midnight early--so, of course, I was up too, since he was dropping me off.
Before we left, he picked me up and took me outside. We walked around the yard, and he gave me one of those "you're-growing-up-so-fast" speeches that usually mean very little, if anything, to the kids, and everything to the parents. I don't remember much of it--only the part about the Indians. (Native Americans? Back then no one really cared about PC, so I'm writing Indians). He pointed out a tree in the yard, a towering cedar I'd always wanted to climb but even now don't have the height to reach even the smallest branches. He told me that tree was a hundred years old at least, probably more, and that a long time ago, when the cowboys and Indians were sitting around their campfires, looking up at those same stars in the sky, that tree was there. That tree saw it all, all the amazing things that had happened before even his parents were born, and it would be there after even we were long gone.
A pretty deep discussion for a five-year old, perhaps, but that is one of the few good memories I have of my childhood--that light-bulb moment when I just barely started to grasp at the concept that the world was larger than my backyard.
As I thought about that memory today, trying really hard to figure out how to talk about something that started with a 'K' and also somehow related to babies, I had another light-bulb moment:
I think kids are like trees. Little baby trees we plant, and cultivate. We watch them grow, and then we die, but like that cedar tree our kids are there, at least for awhile, remembering the days we sat around the campfire watching the stars.