Monday, July 6, 2015
Am I happy to be a grown-up? Sometimes. I mean, I get to eat Ding Dongs whenever I want, I can choose my own bedtime, I ... I ... I can't think of anything else right now. But mostly I think I'm satisfied with my grown-upness. (Grown-uptitude?) But are there things I miss about being a kid? Um. Yeah. You could say that. Mostly things I never even knew to appreciate when I was young. Flat abs. Amazing energy levels. A ridiculously high metabolism. Great skin. Few responsibilities. Did I mention amazing energy levels?
Most of these things you get to have once. Once in your life. And then before you know it, they're gone. You trade them in for something fuller, something richer. You give up the carefree attitudes and naivety of youth for wisdom and experience. You trade your dewy skin and bikini body for the adventure and miracle of motherhood. (This is the part where I pretend to wear my wrinkles and stretch marks with battle-scarred pride.) Adulthood can be intimidating and overwhelming, but it also has the potential to be great. If you are not too busy being intimidated and overwhelmed, that is.
One of the great wonders of parenthood is getting to see things through the eyes of your children. You marvel at their amazement when they see a rainbow. Or at their terror when a bee (or a moth, or a fly) comes within 50 yards of them. You struggle to remember if your happiness was ever so precarious as to be drastically influenced by the color of the cup you used at dinnertime. You giggle a little when they are impatient while Netflix is loading, because they will never know the pain of waiting for a VHS tape to rewind. You are relieved that your life no longer revolves around the brand of shoes or jeans you wear. And, oh my gosh, you are so happy that you never have to deal with high school girls ever, ever again. And every now and then, you see something in them that you want again for yourself.
I was reminded of one of these things that I want for myself last week on a hiking trip with the family. Never mind the fact that I had been SURE that I remembered it as being a 3 mile round trip hike, only to arrive there and discover it was actually 3 miles...each way. For a total of, that's right, math whiz...6 miles. Insert groans, eye-rolls, and whining here. Sprinkle on a little What??-Are-You-Crazy?? and add a little I'm-Not-Going and you'll start to see what I was up against. I pulled out some of my own secret weapons: Threatening, Cajoling, Begging, and Promising-It-Would-Be-Worth-It (and also that I would buy them a soda and a candy afterwards) and we were on our way. It was long, it was hot, it was ardous. But it was scenic, and not too steep, and ended at a 200 foot high waterfall. (See? I told you it would be worth it!)
We arrived at the foot of the falls and took some time to revel in our accomplishment. We took some pictures, we drew in the sand, we dipped our feet in the ice-cold pool. At some point, my five year old who was carefully and conscientiously holding up his shorts so he didn't get them wet, took a tumble. It was one of those slow-motion, you-can-see-it-happening-but-can't-do-a-thing-about-it moments. Slip. Trip. Dip. Before we knew it, he was face first in the shallow water and dripping from head to toe. Poor little guy. He was devastated. He was cold. He was wet. He was sad. There was nothing that any of us could do for him. I wasn't even nice enough to give him a big hug. (What?? He was soaking wet!) We did our best to offer words of cheer and encouragement and convince him that it wasn't so bad. But inside I was dreading the hike back. The 3-mile return trip with a wet, grumpy, cold 5-year-old. And mostly I just felt bad for the kid. Everyone else was running around playing and he was soggy and shivering.
And then it happened. We took his shirt off so that he would be somewhat less cold and before I knew it, he was running around Lord-of-the-Flies style like he owned the place. Chucking rocks, throwing sticks, splashing around, having the time of his life. Say whaaa?? Is this not the same kid who was almost in tears less than 3 minutes ago? He was definitely still wet, he was undoubtedly still cold, but he didn't even seem to care.
That's when it hit me. The one thing from my youth that I miss the most. It's not the ridiculous amount of energy I used to have. Not the super-sonic metabolism, or the sheer absence of cellulite. (Although, don't get me wrong, I DO miss those things.) What I miss most is resilience. The ability to go from knowing that everything is wrong with the world to everything is A-OK in 2.7 seconds. The belief that no matter what happens, there is something wondrous waiting just around the corner. That I can handle whatever comes my way.
I have lost that ability. I have misplaced that skill. I miss it sorely. I need it back. Call it a mission. Call it a mid-year resolution. I will not stop until I can recover the resilience I am sure I used to have. The resilience that I know used to be mine but has somehow gotten lost among the doubt, and the dread, and the fear that grown-up existence can bring.
Because I need to remember that even after life knocks me down flat on my face, I can get up again.
There's a warrior princess in there somewhere. I'll find her. And don't doubt for a second that she owns the place.
Posted by Cyndie at 4:09 PM