First thing I did was go looking for a photo of me as a kid. But before I got to that I passed a couple photos of myself as an awkward teenager. And then I realized that I may as well include a photo of myself being a kid with kids. Because I
hope don’t think you ever have to stop being a kid. Unless you want to. And why would you want to?
My friend Jane was showing us at book group the other night where she hurt her hand going down the water slide that’s part of the big inflatable toy she bought at Costco (back when you could buy such things at Costco) to set up in her backyard for her grandkids to play on. What I love about Jane is that she didn’t just set it up and blow it up and sit on the bench and watch her kids go down it. (Which is what I would do. Because it is the sensible thing to do.) She went down it with them.
I remember a photo of my grandmother, well into her upper 80s–possibly even her 90s–sitting on a jet ski. And I recall the night she fell and twisted her ankle at UVU while attending a country music concert in the middle of winter sometime after that. She let them help her into the concert, but wouldn’t seek medical treatment until after the concert. (That may not be the actual way it went down. It might just be the way I remember it. But if I remember it that way it is only because it would be just like her. And I’m pretty sure that is just how it happened.)
Being a kid means you walk down to the shoreline–no matter how rocky, or how late, or how many miles out of your way you have to drive to get to it–of any ocean you see and take off your shoes and stick your toes in the sand. And take awkward pictures of it so you’ll remember.
Being a kid means you go back to Michael’s for the buzzard you’ve passed by at least 3 times before just to see how much they want for it because you finally figured out just where to put it even though Halloween is in 4 days and everything is unpredictable at the moment and you don’t really have any other Halloween decorations up. And you laugh out loud when you see the original price is $54, but you know all Halloween is marked down at least 60% so you take it up to the register and point out how its beak is scratched and one of its feathers is a little bent and the bottom of its left eye is a bit chipped away and ask them how much they want for it. And when they magically tell you they will sell it to you for $15, which is the exactly figure you had in your head which you would be willing to pay, you whip out your credit card and purchase the big glorious bird and take it right home to set it on top of your grandfather clock.
Being a kid is lots of things. But when you’re a kid in an older and a bit broken body it means finding joy however it comes to you and having the courage to seize it. And to not care what anyone else thinks about the simply things that bring you joy.
[Day 185 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]