By: Marilyn L. Davis
I took you to the airport today and realized as you sat waiting for your flight, that you are a betweener. This time last year, you were still a child, laughing at your Knock-Knock jokes that sound fresh even though they are now at least four generations old. You still wanted me to tuck you in the bed and asked me to stay until you fell asleep in my guest room. You clutched the time-worn teddy bear that waits patiently for each grandchild to visit. You danced with me to an old record and thought it was “awesome” to dress up in some of my clothes.
This year, you stay in the bathroom longer and if I’m not mistaken, you’ve got a bit of mascara on your eyes, and those baby-pout lips seem a little shinier.
This year, the County Fair didn’t have the same appeal, but the country boys did. I saw you eyeing a friend’s grandson and watched you blush when you caught my eye.
This year, we didn’t talk about our favorite books like we usually do; instead, you had to educate me on Pokemon-Go and force me to walk around half the town looking for strange little creatures that do very little as far as I could tell. However, you were convinced that a place as “isolated”, as you put it, as Eufaula, Alabama was sure to have a prize Pokemon. I’ll admit that walking with you was nice, the searching, not so much.
This year, you roll your eyes. I remember that your mother did this at about 12, and I guess it’s just an inherited trait. She outgrew it except when we tell stories about the family at Christmas and then it starts again. I wonder if you’ll outgrow yours when you go off to college, too.
Your brother still goes to gather eggs, and while I do admit that the chickens can be loud and might peck, that hasn’t happened in 11 years, so I’m inclined to think you would have been safe gathering them with us. But I also understand that your pedicure might not have survived in the dirt.
This year entertainment shows don’t prompt you to get up, grab the paper towel roll and belt out a favorite tune.
This year you don’t want to be a princess when you grow up; instead you’re talking about biometric engineering and helping the world catch terrorists. You are concerned that the world isn’t safe anymore.
When we had this conversation, I was surprised that you were aware of the recent bombings around the world. For some reason, I was having a moment of cognitive dissonance – how could my princess be concerned about world peace? Then I realized that even as a princess, you would be concerned about her citizens, so maybe this wasn’t too much of a stretch for you.
This year when we looked at the old photos, your comments were about your hair, not remembering the fun time. I hope that with time, you’ll reflect less on the looks and more on the activity, but I’ll wait until next year to see what motivates you to comment.
This year, your grandfather caught me fighting back a tear as I looked at you and your brother on the tire swings. He was dragging his feet as he passed over the yard – kicking up dust. You were barely pushing, not your usual reaching for the sky swing. But I guess you can’t be flying high and viewing your cell phone.
You yelled at him to stop getting dirt on you. He smiled. You yelled again, and then gave the eye-roll, mother-in-training sigh and stomped off. I can remember times when you would have back-peddled in your swing; came at him sideways and forward kicked dirt on him. Then he could yell, and run to me to tattle on you. It was at those times, that the garden hose came out and both of you squealed when I sprayed you. This year, the hose stayed coiled and ready, but we didn’t use it.
Each year you’ve come back in the fall to visit the Paradise Pumpkin Patch and I’ve looked forward to making that pilgrimage. That’s been a special place where you learned about farm animals and rode the ponies, not even caring that it was just in a circle. I’ve kept your cowgirl hat in the closet so you’d always be ready. I wondered if you’d need it this year. That’s when you informed me that you couldn’t come back near Halloween as you were going to a boy-girl costume party.
How very different you are this year. But that is a good thing. I see you growing into a confident, caring and interesting person. You’re not my baby girl anymore, but there’s still traces.
And that phone of yours – well, I’m sure it can call Eufaula just as easily as it can track down one of those strange creatures. Use it. Call me.
Love you much, Doodlebug. (I know, don’t call me that anymore, please.)
Sometimes, we have a character living in our head, and we finally give them voice. Nana Jane is one of mine. Besides, I just like the name, Eufaula.
I would encourage all writers to give your characters or alters a voice and then submit to Two Drops of Ink. We are always looking for touching and teaching posts.