Monday, February 15, 2010

Contentment

I was watching my kids play in the snow last week. I watched their red cheeks, stretched tight with cold and laughter. The snow balls flew through the air, and their bodies pressed angel-shaped into the snow-covered grass. Confetti clouds of white were tossed against the bright, blue sky. Shrieks of bubbly laughter surrounded them like a thick blanket.

And then the question creeped into my mind, ever so softly.

When exactly did I grow up?



I don't remember it happening. I just know that it has.

No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to pinpoint the moment that dipping my face into the snow sounded less like an adventure and more like torture. When did I decide that a snowball in the face is not the least bit funny? When did it grow so cold out that I chose to watch instead of play?

I think it happened so gradually that I hardly noticed it.

There was a time that I was the one with frostbitten fingers, tossing snowballs at my brothers' knitted caps. I was the one who donned moon boots and a striped coat, and stayed outside for hours -- returning to the house only for lunch or a quick cup of cocoa. I was once the one who made snow angels and tossed confetti clouds of white against the sky.

My days now are filled with schedules, carpools, laundry, and dishes. I have bills that I pay. I have a car that I maintain, and a house that I own. I have worries, stored up in a tired mind, that always seem to unleash themselves the minute my head hits the pillow.

I am the one who locks up the house at night, and climbs into bed in the dark. Nobody checks my closet for monsters or tucks me in with a kiss.

I am now the grown up.



Every once in a while, I miss the little girl who liked to have that kind of fun. But mostly, I sit content with myself now. Watching over my little snow babies from the warmth and security of a soft chair by the window. Looking up from my book now and then to laugh with them. Hurrying to ready a warm cup of cocoa when I hear their boots stomping in the garage.

Because the little girl I once was? She never knew what it felt like to warm the hands of her babies, listen to their laughter, and find that she loves them so much it hurts.

If she had, I'm afraid she might have been in a much bigger hurry to grow up.

21 comments:

Mel's Box of Chocolates said...

It is funny because I was just talking to my parents about this same subject over the weekend. I don't know when I became the grown up either. It is a lot of responsibility, but you are right there are some awesome rewards too. Wonderful post!

adreamygal said...

awwwwww thats so sweet post ! yeah its true , we neevr know how we grow up , leaving the innocent "me" behind us ..I loved the last line ..will definately remeber you when I do have my own kids and see them laughing and playing ! I have heard that its the best gft of life ! :)

Jen said...

I know what you mean. I may have slipped back to being a kid during our 10 day winter break for a day, I mean a couple of hours. There's nothing like watching childhood especially our own children.

What a great shot of your girl! The joy just leaps from the screen.

PS: Have you seen The Lightning Thief? We're going this weekend...can't wait and thank you again for introducing this fantastic series to us.

the wrath of khandrea said...

as if to prove your point, i was going to comment that you became an adult right around the time you got yourself knocked up. because during those nine months, you were keenly aware that everything in life was arrayed for your personal torture.

Jamie said...

What an amazing photo of your daughter, I love it! This is so true, I have often wondered when I became the one to stand on the sidelines and cheer, instead of playing the game. Sometimes you just have to play the game anyways! I just recently came across your blog and have really enjoyed reading your thoughts and your point of view. Thanks for sharing!

Cindy said...

You are such a gifted writer. The way you are able to put the thoughts of your heart into words is truly a gift.
Cute photos of your babies. ...and it makes me wonder about the same thing... when did I grow up? I don't remember the transition from loving to have frozen, snow-covered hands to the ones warm with gloves. Thanks for sharing.

SM said...

That first photo is precious!
When did I grow up? I think I've always been 40. I'm just too serious, I am.

I'm trying to remember how much fun I had as a kid, and I think 10 is when it all changed for me and I because a grownup responsible for a 1 year old brother that I love more than life still :)

danandcindy said...

Blaaaaahhh.....

I have not grown up, because I still think it's funny to throw snowballs at your face.

Jess said...

I love this post. Your words are SO true.

Jess

Tristan said...

I love your sentimental posts!

Woman Interrupted said...

You are such a beautiful writer!

I know exactly how you feel. I just asked my hubs the other day, what happened to me? I used to be so silly and now I'm so serious...

How many times a day do I find myself saying "no" and "be careful" goshdarnit! Too many...

Emily said...

another lovely post Stie, I have the same feelings, I caught myself the other day wondering why I get so mad when Chris throws snow at me and yet the kiddies love it :)

gab said...

The snow looks fun at your house. It's making me grouchy here.

Rochelleht said...

Ha ha! I told my husband that he was the good parent who went out and made snowmen and I was the good parent who had hot chocolate and warm cookies waiting when they came in. I'm ok with it.

Hollywood Make-Up said...

Hi, I'm Marta Naranjo, professional makeup artist, I invite you to visit my blog with many new features and tricks for beauty.
Every Wednesday you have a beauty tip from natural products that you have at home.
Feel free to leave your comment or tip you want to publish. Obviously it will get your property.
Thank you very much.
http://hollywoodmake-up.blogspot.com/

Ben and Rainee In Alaska said...

you are so amazing with words! I have been thinking the same thing lately, and have tried to gain the inner child again. I have been sledding with the kids and outside making snow angels, and you know what? It just isn't the same as when I was a kid. The kids sure have fun laughing at me when I am stuck on my back with feet up in the air and prego belly holding me down though! But your right, so much more enjoyable watching from the warmth of the house, waiting to warm them up from their hours of playing. Thank you for sharing!

Statman said...

This is a very tender post.

You are right--you never know how good it feels to warm their hands--until you can!

jessica said...

Amen.

Lauren in GA said...

Oh, Christie. Perfectly written and utterly amazing.

Snow is such a rarity here...you think I wouldn't have minded the snowballs in my face or down my back. I guess I'm a grown up now, too. I don't know when it happened, either.

Amanda D said...

Oh, I love this. I was thinking about this the other day -- how I would rather watch than be the one doing.

Christie in Dallas, TX said...

love it, love it, love it. (I think I say that about everything you write!)