Monday, March 16, 2009

To Be or Not To Be (Eight)...That is the Question

"If you could choose any age to be, what would you choose and why?"

I know it was just supposed to be a fun question for a group of pre-adolescent girls on a sleepover. They were all probably going to say 16 or 18 or 21 so that they could date and wear makeup and drive. That was the point. But she asked me.

The response that sat like a Mexican jumping bean on the tip of my tongue was, "Eight." But for some reason, my lips wouldn't part to let it out. I swallowed that bean and it has been bouncing around in my belly ever since.

Eight was how old I was when my parents' marriage dissolved.

Eight was how old I was when I began to believe I was responsible for the well-being of my siblings.

Eight was how old I was when I dragged the weight of the world onto my shoulders, bent over double and began slogging forward, determined to support it no matter what.

Do I really want to be eight again?

Would it change anything?

I can't save my parents' marriage, which means I can't prevent any of the disastrous things that happened as a result of their divorce.

I don't even think I would want to, given the experiences I was led to and the people I met because of the split.

Do I want to go back and do it again even if it means I would live through all the same things?

"I don't know," I finally answered, realizing she was waiting for a response. Somehow, saying that I wished I was a kid again felt as though I was betraying her - choosing not to be her parent right now. Knowing that if I did change anything about my childhood my life would not be the same now.

She asked me this question over two months ago and I'm still struggling with the answer.

6 comments:

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Thought provoking! I hope you are able to get your mind into a state of ease that wants to be just where you are right this minute - not a minute older or younger.

Jill of All Trades said...

Wow, that would be a hard one. I don't know if I could answer that one either.

Deb Shucka said...

I think it's okay to want to be eight so you could experience what a free and loved eight might have - much like the life you've given your girls.

I think it's just as okay to know that you wouldn't really change a thing because the cost would be the life you have with your family now.

Light and dark - both are necessary.

I love you and I love that tender little girl inside of you who took on the weight of the world and who deserved so much more.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Love.

Scott from Oregon said...

Choosing not to live through all that you have lived through is choosing not to be you.


Since you are you, I would suggest choosing the right answer.

Go Mama said...

Wow. It's amazing how a ostensibly simple question can lead to such mighty deep pondering. And parenting brings all that stuff back up again for a second look. I honor your journey.

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