On the Twelfth and Last Day of Four, we all contemplate transitions
Curious Girl burst into tears at bedtime, as she tried to sleep. "I'm afraid to be five! I want to be four forever!" When I rubbed her back and asked what she was worried about, she sobbed, "I don't want to talk about it." I held her close and asked if I could guess some things and she nodded. This is always a tricky move, as it has the potential to suggest new worries, but she agreed that she might, just might, be worried because five year olds have to do different things, and she doesn't know what they are. Homework, she volunteered, is a worry. Five year olds have to do homework, she thought. "Not at Posh Progressive School," I reassured her. She decided she might need to consult one of the kindergarten teachers on this point. I told her she can always ask me, or Politica, or her teachers, if she wonders what she should be doing. I told her that she'd simply be five, so whatever she did, however she felt, that is what five should be. She cried some more. "Friend At School is going to be 5, too, and she is taller than I am. Everyone is taller than me."
"You're so full of feelings tonight," I told her. "I love you, always, whatever kind of feelings you have inside." She asked me for another sleepy song, and eventually fell asleep. She kept turning her head and saying, "I love you." Once I said, "I love you too," and she raised her head and said "I was saying 'I love you' to myself." Whatever.....hold on to that self-love, I thought. Now there's a birthday wish for her.
It was a long evening. We ate dinner too late, and CG spiraled out of control with fatigue. "I was mean to Mommy because I was sleepy," she told me once she was settled in her pjs. ("Good self-awareness," Politica later observed. I guess self-control comes later.)
I have enjoyed writing these fours. Thank you to everyone who's commented! I usually try to follow up on comments when they come in, but this week, I've been writing more posts than comments, and moving onto the next post more than dwelling with the last. But I have been thinking about your comments, and have been so happy to read them. Thanks for sharing these stories with me.
It's exciting, the final four. Curious Girl was worried when I was turning 44, but we survived it, and have, in fact, taken four-fold pleasures in the fourishness of the year. And I shall retain my fondness for four, and the rest of my 44ishness. Age is a genre, of sorts: there is audience, there is expectation, there is context. Five year olds are expected to go to kindergarten, for example. 45 year olds are expected to be well-behaved. These last sets of posts have been my biggest bloggy genre exploration, and they've shown me how genre can be an aid to invention as well as a limiter of form. That's fun. Way more fun than some of the writing I've been doing at work lately, handling student stress at the end of the term, negotiating with job candidates, working out policy issues with colleagues on campus. Lots of problem-solving with not-always-happy people.
One of the many things I love about motherhood is that--frequent meltdowns aside--Curious Girl is a font of happiness. It comes with the territory of four. And so, for this final four, I say: hold onto that four. Find it deep inside, and connect with it when much bigger concerns drag at you. Four is happy. And four is always part of every later number. You still have your four. Just ask Curious Girl.