Prompted Writing #1

When I can’t think of a subject to write about I am going to start using the writing prompts found here. Some of the subjects probably won’t be that interesting to me, but writing is good practice even when it is difficult… maybe especially when it is difficult. 

Subject: Childhood Memories

Question: What was your most precious childhood possession?

I can really only think of one childhood possession that has been in my life as long as I can remember, my CareBear. I have (yes, I still have it) a blue “Bedtime Bear” that was given to me long before memories are formed. I have no idea who gave it to me but it has been with me as long as I can remember. It is definitely dirty and worn out after over three decades of existence, but there is still a special place in my heart for it. I’m sure that when I settle into Wilmington I will bring it back from Gresham.

I only have one specific memory of Bedtime Bear. I was pretending that we were sinking into quicksand and he was going in head first, so I pulled out the tuft of hair on the top of my head with my teeth to symbolize it going into the quicksand. Other than that I just remember carting him around with me from home to home throughout my early years of travel. See, I was born in Spokane, Washington, but by time I reached third grade I had lived in three states and had gone to three different elementary schools. I was always a shy kid, and really nerdy, which made it difficult to make friends. Luckily, I had multiple brothers to help me along those lines.

Being the oldest of six has some advantages, particularly when we are all so close in age. My closest brother, Jordan, is only 16 months younger than me. Jordan and I have been confused for (and accused of) being twins for a very long time. We don’t look as similar now that we are adults, but throughout elementary and middle school we were pretty similar. Anyway, I always had a brother nearby if I was afraid or in trouble. I didn’t get into a lot of trouble, but it occasionally happened and they had my back.

Ultimately, being the oldest of so many siblings kind of made me grow up fast. I had a job from the age 12 until now, I often babysat my siblings or took them to school, and I felt a weird need to protect them. I think that is ultimately why I joined the military, to protect those I cared about. Also, my past might explain why I live a bit more carefree and hedonistic now than most people my age, I’m kind of making up for the times when I was the oldest and had a more adult role during my childhood.

It is funny how life turns out. When I was 19 or 20 most people assumed I would marry someone from the church (probably Mandy) and be raising a bunch of kids in the suburbs now. I was going to be the responsible and mature Neiger boy, but it turned out a little different than that. Though, I would argue I am still responsible and mature, even if the fruit of my life don’t fit the traditional “adult” mold. Instead, my younger siblings are all going along the mature and traditional path. Instead of being the father everyone (myself included) though I would be, I became the crazy uncle. And I’m okay with that. I love my roll and I feel great joy in being able to be a part of so many beautiful lives because of my decision to not have or raise children and to travel the world a bit… and drag that Bedtime Bear around to all the countries, states, and cities possible.

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