I miss the days when I would spend every day lying on my bedroom floor blaring music from my radio and singing and it was so loud that I couldn't hear anyone downstairs and everyone would yell at me to turn the music down. I miss the days when summer vacation meant spending every day with my cousins, exploring my yard, which was huge because we lived on the side of a hill overlooking the highway, and that entire hill was open for exploration. I miss going down to the creek without having to care about getting poison oak because I was too young to realize how easy it was to get it.

I miss spending summer nights in front of a giant bonfire in my front yard roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. I miss putting long sticks into the fire until they caught and then taking them out and drawing my name in the air against the night sky. I miss having to wear long-sleeve shirts at night in the summer because there were mosquitos everywhere.

I miss going to my brother's softball games at six o'clock at night and being so cold my hands were numb. I miss sitting there bored and freezing for hours just to get a chance to give all the players high fives when they came into the dugout because I was allowed to sit there since my brother was on one of the teams. I miss going to Hooley's after the games and sitting there in a booth eating appetizers while everyone had beer to celebrate, whether they won or lost.

I miss liking Country music. I miss the days when getting into the car meant switching between two stations to get good Country songs and skipping commercials. I miss hot days and cold nights and living in the mountains where it rained a lot and there were summer rainstorms with thunder and lightning. I miss staying up til three in the morning because I wasn't tired and letting my imagination go wild while it poured rain and made drumming sounds on the roof.

I miss getting up early just to get coffee. I miss when it was Autumn and Winter and Mom would put cinnamon or nutmeg into the coffee while it was brewing to give it festive flavor. I miss seeing flashes of coyotes outside on our lawn while I enjoyed the coffee. I miss spending hours writing in Composition journals until my hand hurt. I miss messing around on the piano and not caring that I couldn't really read the sheet music. I miss listening to Mom play Chariots of Fire over and over again because she would get one note wrong and have to start all over again.

I miss spending days at my Aunt's house, or my Grandma's house, and running around pretending I was in a different world. I miss playing with my cousins and pretending we were in Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings. I miss riding on the backs of dragons and fighting Orcs. I miss when my imagination was so amazing that things I made up seemed more real to me than the real world. I miss having family gatherings at my Grandma's house and seeing so many family members that I couldn't count them all.

Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Just remember that life can be just as amazing as you remember it to be if you let it.