Saturday, December 9, 2006

My 10-Year-Old Self

If you spent the day with your 10-year old self, what would she (he) think of you?

That question, posed to me so innocently awhile back, hit me in the stomach. My 27-year old self paused. Hmmmm. What would I think of me? How would my 10-year old self perceive the grown-up me? Would I think I was kind? Rude? Fun? Stuffy? Smart? Idiotic?

Would I like myself?

I woke up thinking about it again today. Surely, I think, she would like my closet. I noted with satisfaction my gigantic mountain of Container Store boxes, all filled with beautiful shoes, and thought that she would be enamored with my shoe collection. Cool.

In the living room, I noted my DVD stash. Certainly there was plenty there to keep my 10-year old self spellbound. Beauty and the Beast... Charlie Brown... Little Women... Polar Express... Clue... Uptown Girls. Movies? Check!

Oh... and books. I have dozens of fun and educational children books... many from when I was ten. I know she'd love those.

In the kitchen, maybe my 10-year old self would help me make cookies. Big, beautiful snowflake cookies with sparkly sugar tops. Of course, no cookie would be complete without a mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. So... okay. My 10-year old self would be thrilled with the kitchen.

But all that... it's just stuff. Just things I own. It's not really me. And the question was would she like me, not my accumulation of junk.

Huh. Okay.

I was still thinking about it when I pulled into the overcrowded, chaotic mega-mart to grab some Christmas things. Inside, I passed a swarm of kids with dried snaught on their faces. A few of us made eye contact and I wondered: Do I looked perturbed? Do I look tired? Can children tell the difference? A little girl glanced up at me. I smiled. She, after all, might have been friends with my 10-year old self.

Rounding the milk/yogurt/sour cream/juice, etc. aisle, I nearly crashed into the back of my own basket. There, in front of me, atop a throne of bright red Coca-Cola, was Santa Claus. His beard was crooked and he was impossibly young, but his cheeks were rosy and his boots were shiny, so he was Santa alright. I hesitated, then began to wheel briskly by him.

"HO, HO, HO, Merry Christmas," Santa bellowed as I walked by. I stopped.

"Merry Christmas, Santa," I said, looking Santa square in the beard.

"And what would you like for Christmas this year?" Santa asked.

"ME?" I questioned, looking around. Surely impossibly young Santa wasn't talking to me.

But he was.

I almost snickered and wheeled away. Or I could have given him a don't-you-dare-hit-on-me-Santa look, and then wheeled away. But I didn't. Instead I left my cart by the yogurt and walked up to his Coca-Cola throne.

"What do I want for Christmas?" I asked.

Santa nodded.

I almost said I wanted a wireless internet router. Or a garden cart. Or a dishwasher.

But I didn't. Instead, I heard myself whisper:

"I want to be the kind of woman my 10-year old self would be proud of."

That's the real trouble with the world,
Too many people grow up.
They forget.
They don't remember what it's like
To be ten years old.
-Walt Disney

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like this post. I think my 10 year old self would think I was crazy. I'm hoping I would like myself but that's probably because I would think I was cool. ANYWAY. Just wanted to say thanks for the birthday card in case you didn't get the long voice mail I left you (I was thinking it may have cut me off). Ok now that I've written a paragraph, I will leave you be.