To encourage our three-year old son, we frequently tell him, “You are such a big boy!”
We tell him this when he hits any of the milestones that define “big boy” for a three-year old…like not yelling during a wedding or staying with Mommy in a crowd.
Lately, when we tell him how big he’s getting, he yells back, “I WANT TO BE LITTLE!!!!”
Man, I think, join the club.
I wonder if he knows something I don’t remember.
There is a certain strong cache in being a mature member of society…it greases the wheels somehow to just fit in…to accept that along with all the grown up toys there comes a certain responsiblity to “dress the part”. You really have to learn how to play the games to get to join the “successful club”.
You wouldn’t want to draw too much attention to yourself by being the kind of fellow who always has people commenting, “What’s his deal?! Who does he think HE IS?!!”
It freaks people out if you go too far outside of what they can understand.
That was one of the interesting things about ART SCHOOL ( I capitalize and highlight because it feels like some kind of hyped up myth to me at this point…we become different people as we move from being “little” )….one of the interesting things about art school was that if you weren’t trying to go at least a little bit outside of the understood…it freaked people out.
“Who does he think he is?” What a loaded question…I don’t know if I could define myself these days.
Occupation helps some…I could say “I am a mailman”…but that feels so weird I couldn’t stand to say it. I’m a guy driving the mail around. As a courtesy, I do my best to make sure I do it all correctly, but I wouldn’t say that I’m willing to be defined by my job.
Parent and husband come a lot closer to defining me…it’s something that matters, something I can really and continuously sink my teeth into.
But even that doesn’t completely define me…just like it doesn’t completely define Jenny. There is more to us than “just” being parents.
Good grief…some days I “just want to be little”.
Here’s a poem by Jim Harrison from a book called “In Search of Small Gods”
Back in the blue chair in front of the green studio
another year has passed, or so they say, but calendars lie.
They’re a kind of cosmic business machine like
their cousin clocks but break down at inopportune times.
Fifty years ago I learned to jump off the calendar
but I kept getting drawn back on for reasons
of greed and my imperishable stupidity.
Of late I’ve escaped those fatal squares
with their razor-sharp numbers for longer and longer.
I had to become the moving water I already am,
falling back into the human shape in order
not to frighten my children, grandchildren, dogs and friends.Our old cat doesn’t care. He laps the water where my face used to be.
I love that line “I had to become the moving water I already am…”
I guess that we are all oddly shaped pegs that can’t be driven into the round holes that people expect.
Or maybe we can be driven into the expected hole…the process just leaves a piece of us behind when we don’t completely fit?
Maybe when my son yells, “I WANT TO BE LITTLE” I should just give him a hug and tell him “sounds like a good plan to me, buddy”.
Sounds like a plan.