The house is decorated, sort of, which means I may begin to slide into a seasonal cheer. But, tomorrow, when I get home from work, the carefully placed nativity scenes and the ornaments on the lower third of the tree will probably be strewn about the house, knocked over by the demonic kittens from … well, not from hell. They are simply kittens, aren’t they? Doing what kittens do? I wish I’d been this tolerant of my kids when they were just doing what kids do at whatever age they were doing it. I’m learning, slowly, but I’m learning. I think it is easier once your children pass through a certain age. It is for me. I don’t remember what it was like to be two; but boy, do I remember 12 and 14. I even remember 9.
I remember my best friend (who is identified as such because we were 9 when we met, and now, all these many, many, many years later, she’s still the BFF because, well, you don’t get best friends when you are 45, do you?), anywhoo, I remember when her daughter (now in college) turned 9, she had something of a crisis she hadn’t had before. “I remember 9,” she said, “which means, chances are, she will, too.”
Nine has turned hard in our house. Youngest one has been at the bottom of the pecking order here for so long, and now, today, she was at school, too. I squeezed in next to her on her towering bed (gone from the matterss on the floor to a princess-in-the-pea like monstrosity of frame, box spring, mattress, mattress when husband’s cousin moved into a new house), and we cuddled and talked and I just felt sad for her. She was pretty sad, too. Good friends gone bad. I tried to tell her this, too, shall pass, but she’s nine. Nothing passes.
Living with nine, and twelve, and fourteen, is sometimes like remembering to live in the now. Everything is about the now. And every feeling we ever have must be shared. Loudly. And did I say: NOW.
It is an interesting time in our house. The middle school dance is tomorrow and girls will go and not dance and come home giggly and weird–I hope. Then, I hope we get to sit in the dark together and watch Johnny Depp-alicious and Orlando Bloom-ing hottie, as I remember not a thing of the 3-hour Pirates 3 since we caught the 9:00 p.m. show on the Monday night of Memorial Day weekend (also known as the sorrowful end of the month of my birth because it takes a whole month to celebrate all that is wonderful about the birth of me–are you buying that?) and I think I may have slept through a little bit of it. But we own it now (best dang babysitters we ever hired–Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and the Pillsbury doughboy–bought us three hours to go to my husband’s work Christmas Party–and, Ms. Theologian, you’ll be happy to know I did not krunk (or is it crank?)).
Bit of a muddled sentence, huh? Yep. I’m tired. And as tired and cranky as I am doing the work of adults and interacting with them in a somewhat rational and polite manner, I forget that the real work is what those girls are doing–growing up. It’s never easy, whether you are 9, or 12, or 14 ..or 45. But the rewards? They’re worth it, just not always as evident as we’d like them to be. Just not as loud as a teenage girl, nor as cheerful as a time-worn tradition. The rewards of maturity are quiet ones, as are the rewards of faith. They steal up on you when you aren’t looking and give you gifts that last you forever, reminding you that this, too, shall pass, as it makes way for the next joy, the next sorrow, the next wave of pain or love (or both at the very same moment). It does pass, and you plod on, holding true to your knowledge of yourself, of your strength, of your tenacity, of your willingness to wake one more day with hope.
But that holds no comfort to nine. Or twelve. But I see it starting to sway fourteen. And forty-five? She’s still working on that waking one more day with hope thing, but, for the most part and in those quiet moments of a small life, those rewards are, as they say in the credit card ads, priceless.