I'm Not the Me I Used to Was
Mar 4, 2007
Did you ever hear the quip, “Just when I think I’m going to make ends meet, somebody moves the ends?” Just when you think you’re getting the hang of parenting small children, they turn into teenagers and the learning process starts all over again. Being bigger and stronger doesn’t cut it any more, because the children are bigger and stronger too.
I guess it's true for any of us. We were babies once, and then toddlers and then full fledged children and then teenagers. After that we were excited young people on the forefront of life, graduates of the latest class, believing that our entry into the world would change everything We were the ones who would show everybody. Then we look at photographs of ourselves at all those different stages; twenties, thirties, forties, gulp, and so on, and we can hardly believe that a photograph of us - is actually us. As my older brother says, “I’m not the me I used to was.” The transformation of a person is interesting because we go through so many internal changes too.
If we had video tapes of ourselves being interviewed at different stages from 3 years old to 50, we'd probably be amazed at the changes of the persona of the “who” that is “me”. In many cases, one phase is nearly unrecognizable from the next.
The transformation of child to teenager is probably the most dramatic shift in our life except maybe for the very last stage when we totter into antiquity -- a translucent shell of our former self guided by a translucent brain which tunes into the reruns of our childhood, sometimes cancelling the drab scenes of middle age. Mommy? Mommy, where’s my doll? Well, hopefully it won’t get that bad.
I flip through photo albums of my kids -- photos of babies in diapers, babies eating their first birthday cake in a high chair, and photos of preschoolers coloring with crayons, wearing super hero capes and playing at Chuck E. Cheese. And these photos morph into children on the edge of teenage-dom and then into the developing height and maturing bodies of young adults.
One day my eldest son was speaking in another room and I thought an intruder had come into the house. There was a bass note running along the bottom of his voice. He grew a foot taller since he was 13. On his recent 18th birthday we asked him; what is the most amazing thing about being 18? He responded that it was the incredible amount of hair he had acquired all over his body. Ah, my furry little one.
I want to know what happened to the little seven pound baby I held across my knees when we brought him home from the hospital. My husband had to go out of town that day and I was alone for a week with my new born baby, both of us crying, not knowing what to do with each other.
Years passed and our other three children were born. I have often said to them, if God had given us a form to fill out, and we could have ordered exactly what we thought we wanted, we could never have come up with the four, exact children He created for us. When we’re laughing around the table I marvel that I didn’t meet them somewhere and invite them home. They were born here. How cool is that? God came up with such neat kids in spite of us.
A good friend of mine recently gave birth to her first baby at the age of 50. She said she felt so honored to witness the first time this little human being laughed. This parenting thing is just a continual revelation. We learn and we’re given to and we give. What a great idea.
One of my younger boys is sleeping a lot now and his muscles hurt. He keeps telling me, Ma, I'm tired because I'm going through puberty. My voice is changing. I'm getting different. I need to rest more.
My own dad drew a sketch of himself looking through the glass at a newborn me in the baby department of the hospital. He drew a bunch of bland-faced little bundles lined up in their blankets. Under it he wrote, “Happy Birthday Kim. You’re 13!” It seems like he just drew that a couple of weeks ago and I tacked it to the bulletin board in my room, above my stereo. I might start looking for my 7th grade, Roberts English Textbook under the bed but then I remember I’m 50 and there’s stuff burning in the oven.
Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.
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