15 March 2012

fortnight :: two

This comes as sheer emotional trauma...that I’m labeled as a grown up (snap!).  Oh, yes, my driver’s license says so.  The candles on my cake provide enough light to read by, enough warmth to melt the frosting (if I were so inclined to have frosting on my cake), enough wax pooling at the base of each wee taper to yield my own private lava flow as though the cake were a shrine of Kilauea in her prime.  I have witnessed many rotations around the sun, to be sure.  But “grown up”?
I am an adult, have been an adult enough years that those ah-ha memories cataloging  change to adulthood are fuzzy at best.  Perhaps those moments came upon me in such small increments that I didn’t archive them as especially momentous, but rather as just another notch in the belt of life.  Perhaps in the grand overall measure of life’s many “firsts” (there were, and continue to be, many), the notion of marking an act as a benchmark to adulthood seemed narcissistic.  Who was I to stake claim of such an ordinary blink of time, calling it my own, running a screaming flag up a pole in the shape of an exclamation point?
I suppose I could recount a dinner party, an apartment agreement, an week-end trip to the coast with a boyfriend--all good as potential evidence to adulthood.  But not “grown up”.  It could just be me, but the term “grown up” is not the same as “adult.”  
I firmly believe I am not a “grown up”--adult, yes, but not a grown up.  In my book of  rules (yes, I have that imaginary book, a decidedly soft-leather-bound book, inscribed with impeccable handwriting, and made fast with a filigree silver button wrapped securely by a narrow leather cord--my husband intimately knows of this book), one becomes grown up when the inner child leaves.  That inner child leaves some folks early on, choked out by work or social pressures and (dare I mention it) television.  The door of opportunity to play shut quickly and firmly too many times, the inner child backs away, curling into a protective chrysalis, hiding, waiting for the grown up to come play seek.  A few times the title of “grown up” appeared on my forehead, red, swollen, and Helvetica-bold-ugly, the insignia glaring back at me in the mirror.  But it never stayed long, for my inner child is strong, fortified by blue skies, rolling thunderstorms, dancing leaves, the conk-a-reeeee song of the Red-winged Blackbird, warm banana bread with walnuts and cream cheese, the euphoria of learning, the feel of pencil to paper, my husband’s touch, my daughter’s smile, strings of lights, a proper cup of hot tea, mossy rocks--all representing but a fragment, a flavorful morsel of the deep, richness of enthusiasm and spark available.
Singing takes place in my vehicle (sometimes, admittedly most times, it’s likely to be children’s songs about trees, plants, fungus, nuts--don’t knock it ‘til you try it).  Knees wear out on my jeans.  Dancing and singing are common in classrooms during my instruction.  Ink and paint are always present under my fingernails.  A red RadioFlyer wagon is my preferred porter of teaching materials.  From time to time I have been known to spontaneously sing a number from a musical at home while cooking or folding laundry (there may also be a few dance steps involved).  I tend to track mud in from outside.  Sure, I’m an adult....just not a “grown up.”
“and forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”
kahlil gibran

the scintilla project :: a fortnight of story sharing
scintilla:  a hint, a trace, a spark, a flash

day two:  when did you realize you were grown up

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