Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the Age of Princesses and Pirate Ships

It was like listening to herself babble away in the backseat,
About nothing, and everything.
“Mommy made me wear these to, what is that thing called when
Someone dies? Yeah, a funeral, that’s it.”
I must have said something to that effect ten years ago.

It was like watching herself discover pop music for the first time,
As they listened to Taylor Swift.
“On a bandview in somedale.” “On a balcony in summer air.”
I like this song. God her songs are sad.
“Do you like this song just because it mentions the seven dwarves?”
I didn’t even notice it mentioned the seven dwarves “Yes.”

It was like reliving the innocent days,
As they talked over a cappuccino and a hot chocolate,
About how boys are gross,
Video games and kissing and all that, gross. Yeah…you. just. wait.

She gets home and half expects to see her
eight year old self in the mirror
because she’s been living in a pre-adolescent memory all afternoon.
She thinks back to the movie theater, the blue-raspberry slushie,
To the kids section of the book store,
To the song playing on the radio.
There’s a reason the song goes,
Don’t forget to look before you fall.
Not before you leap, but before you fall.
We’re all bound to. We all jump,
and we all fall. Blame it on gravity,
blame it on fate, or blame it on nothing
and embrace the impact as best you can.
Love the fall, because sometimes it will be all you've got.

Along with some nostalgia and a new-found appreciation
For the wooden toys her mother gave her (her fingers went numb
Trying to fit those silly plastic dolls in their silly rubber clothes.),
That was the take away.
Look before you fall.

She’s practically a grown-up now,
with responsibilities, with worries, with honest desires, with attainable dreams.
She knows that the Elf on the Shelf isn’t magical,
But my God, how she wishes it was.
She knows that childhood lenses shatter somewhere around adolescence,
            And she wishes she could save the young,
            Or at least prepare them for what lies ahead.

She can’t remember the day, month, or even exact year,
            When she made a devastating realization.
The world wasn’t on her side.
            No one could save her from what she’d do to herself.
Her childhood had evaporated.
            Christmas brought sadness, not presents,
            And it’d be that way for a while.

She’s in the middle of childhood naïveté
            And the vast bitterness of adulthood. 
            Neither quite here nor there.
She swears she won’t let the world get to her,
            But fears she’s beaten the world at that race.
But maybe it’s not so bad to see things for what they are--
            To recognize sadness and humor, grief and irony
            To feel disappointment is to appreciate love
            and all the rest of it just a bit more.

Besides, in one way or another, she’s still got parts of that sparkling youth.
She thinks she can do anything.
She thinks the world’s her canvas,
Because up until this point, it has been.
She’s tried and failed and healed and tried again,
And nothing’s ever stopped her.
She prays that it will always be this way,
That she can act with no regrets, forever.
That she can hit the target every shot she takes, forever.

She prays, but she still knows better.

She dreams the same way Children do.
The only difference is that she recognizes
The foolish parts.
She writes them off.
I’ll bounce back.
Or else deal with it when I’m really an adult.
But Children aren’t sophisticated enough to know
that someday the world won't be at their fingertips.
Someday they'll be hit hard, and it'll feel like
a ton of bricks, the weight of the world.
Someday they'll see more clearly, 
and someday they'll be scared of more than
just monsters under the bed.
They can't grasp the concept of growth and change,
And thank God for that.  

 And at her age,
all you have to do is reach out
and touch the world. 
At her age, it's all possible. 
It's all right there.

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