I turned 39 this summer. A few of my friends did, as well. Donna and I decided we aren't so old. But I was talking to my daughter, I don't even remember the subject. A movie.
"I haven't seen that movie in..." my mind throws out a guess as it works the math. Thirteen, fourteen years, it guesses. *Ding* The math is done. I swallow... "Ohhhhhh," I groan into my salad as the actual number is twenty-seven.
My daughter reads my expression and laughs silently. "A long time?"
Moments like that make me shake my head in wonder. I am still that little girl... I'm ten and want to be like my mom and marry someone just like my dad, I cant wait to see my friends and I am terrified of strangers. I can spin around and around by my knees on the bars at recess and never get dizzy or hurt. I'm twelve and have a secret crush on Jeff Clark and I'm the teacher's pet and hate it, and babysitting means I can buy a ten-speed with the curled handbars. I'm fourteen and high school terrifies me and I cling to my friends and wonder how I can want to say so much and be so tongue-tied, and I love to dance. I'm sixteen and I've had four first kisses and my family are my best friends because my true best friend moves away, and my grades fall because chemistry and geometry elude me. And my heart breaks and I break hearts and I worry about what I am going to college for and my friends all seem to know and they all go away, and then I go away and my mom turns my bedroom into an office, and I am sure they have a party to celebrate my departure, but then I see the pictures and their red eyes and my mom and sister are crying. And I find someone who gets me... who makes me feel like I am enough, and yet I can be so much more, and we fight and we play and we push through together and I ask myself, "Who else would I be without him?" and I don't want to know. And we have five children and raise four. I change diapers and wipe faces and chase runaways in Walmart and believe I will never read a book again as I read to their upturned faces and they shower me with love and I sit at the table talking to my sixteen year old about old movies I haven't seen in... a really long time.
I do not feel 39. I have only been through enough to believe it. I am that little girl.