The naivety of youth

Young woman with map and light effects.
Young woman with map and light effects. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s my daughters’ fifth birthday today. I can’t believe my little girls are five. It seems like only yesterday that they were babies. Tiny little creatures, who were completely dependent on me. Actually, it seems like only yesterday I was a teenager – a young woman on the brink of adulthood. A young woman who was unsure of her place in the world, and was confused about who she wanted to be and what she wanted to do with her life (this hasn’t really changed). A young woman who craved independence, excitement, and who didn’t want to follow the worn, well-trodden paths of others. A young woman looking for love and hoping to find it in return. A young woman who wanted a life less ordinary.

Then, in a blink of an eye, twenty-odd years have passed by, and I’m forty-one with five year old twin girls. How did that happen?! I went to see a play last night and one of the characters said, “Before you know it, twenty-five years have gone by. Before you know it everything was twenty-five years ago.” “How bloody true!” I thought.

Anyway, my girls are five and no longer babies (as they keep telling me). At two o’clock this morning they awoke, and my husband and I could hear them discussing whether it was too early to get up. Eventually, one of them thumped and stomped her way into our bedroom. “Mummy, am I really five?” she asked. “Mm,” I grunted back. It was two o’clock in the morning after all. “Can I look in the mirror?” she replied. “Er, yes,” I answered. She went and looked at herself in our bedroom mirror, and came back with tears in her eyes. “You’re wrong,” she sniffed. “I can’t be five. I’m not any bigger than I was yesterday and I look the same.”

I lifted her gently into bed, dried her eyes, and gave her a big cuddle. I then explained to her that although she was a year older only a day had gone by since she was four. As I tried to explain this to her, I realised what nonsense it must seem to a child. I realised what nonsense it seemed to me. I wondered when it is that these odd thoughts and concepts go from absurdity to being believed. At what point we stop questioning and start accepting. Do we just gain the knowledge and understanding to help us accept or do we give in to the thoughts and ways of our elders? Do we come to believe that they know best?

I wondered what my teenager self would have said in this situation. How she would answer her future offspring. Actually, I know the answer to that. She would have said, “Suburban life?! What the hell are you playing at? That was never the plan!”

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