Sunday, November 12, 2017

why, when, how

I started out, I imagine, like most kids, asking "why"?.   Growing intellectually, starting around the age of three, ask why about everything.  So much that eventually their parents either start ignoring them, or saying "because I said so".   That was my mom.  Because I said so.  I swore I would never say that to my children.   Oh, famous last words.

There is so much that we just know before we have children.  What we will say in answer to their questions.  We would never say no, never be impatient, never bribe or threaten.  And always have answers to "why".

Next comes "when" either as a question "when?" or a declaration "when I grow up".  We want to grow up.  We want to have power over our selves.  We want autonomy.   We want to be able and allowed to do what older kids and siblings do.  In my family, you had to be 14 to use my dad's slide projector.  I couldn't wait.  And, I thought, it wasn't fair.  It sucked being the youngest.

We were going to be eternally patient with our own, eventual, children.  We wouldn't restrict their creativity.  Then we had kids.  And we put safety locks on the cupboards and gates on the stairs.  And we protected and guarded  them from the frighteningly dangerous world around us/ them.  And the "when's" started again.  When will the baby start to sleep more hours.  When will we be done potty training and when can we stop washing diapers.  When will they start school.  When will they ever learn to pick up after themselves.

When do we start realizing that our parents are not everything, know nothing and are annoying.

And back to why.  Why is it that no matter how old you are or your parents are, when they die, you want them back more than you ever knew you would.

And how.  Showing your baby how to smile.  Play peekaboo and patty cake.  Crawling on the floor with your little one and graduating to writing their ABCs.

How and when did these people, who came from you and through you stop thinking that they need you.

And how did I, who used to be a little girl, a teen, a young woman and a wife and mother.  How did I become old enough that I am now called "young lady".

When, how and why did I learn to hold my feelings.  Sometimes I want to be like a toddler who has skinned her knee, and just cry, unembarrassed, and unashamed.

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