part the third
It was a hot day and my dad and all the boys were clearing out brush. My mom and sister were making yard jenga sets and the little ones really wanted to go out waaay into the back yard and see the multicolored pinwheel stuck in the ground next to the old dog house. As my niece and I were making sure that the littles came to no harm, we talked about school coming up and how the summer was going and about her horseback riding lessons.
We started the walk up to the house and she grabs my hand and says to me, “Boo (my family nick name is Boo Boo after Boo Boo bear, of course) why do I have to keep getting older?”
Now I did not let the child see the shock on my face nor did I try to act like her question was a surprise to me, but in that brief moment I became more fully aware of her as a person and fellow human being. There was a sadness in her voice like she knew that the older she got, the less she would be a little girl and the more she would be a young woman. Like she knew she was going to have to deal with things in life that she just didn’t want to. She really wanted to know the why.
I said to her, “Well, we’re all part of this crazy life and it goes in a cycle and we only get one go round. Just live every day well and try to live the next one better and you’ll be ok, hon. Every day is a gift and we are to make the most of it so that when we are old, we can look back and know that we did all we could to fully live.”
She was quiet after that, but I sensed she understood. I hope she did. Funny how something that took me better than two decades to learn, I was able to sum up in three sentences. I feel closer to her now – like we shared a moment that somehow made us more as people.