Sunday, February 17, 2008

On Being 10, 26, and 85

Believe it or not, in some way, I am all of these ages.

One day in art class, my kindergartners asked me how old I was. Although I feared the answer would be 104, I risked my self-esteem and turned the question on them: "How old do you think I am?" Their response? 10. 10! How fabulous. But you see, to them, 10 is old. Most of them are 5, some barely 6. 10 is way out of their league, and to be 10 is to have freedoms kindergartners only dream of. In their minds, 10-year-olds can drive, choose not to eat their vegetables, and go to summer camp. And once you reach that age, you are old.

I responded to them by telling them that 10 is a great age and I loved being 10, but I am actually 26. "26???" I realized I might just as well have told them that I was 104. But I told them being 26 was great, too, because I really could drive, I didn't have to eat my vegetables if I didn't want to, I could be married, and I could even have my own house with 3 dogs. That was the kicker for them. 3 dogs? One of them told me his mom said he was lucky to have a fish. He would love 3 dogs! "You really can, Mrs. Williams? You're so lucky! Can I bring my fish and come live with you?"

You know you are loved when a kindergartner asks if he can bring his fish and move in with you and your three dogs.

And while being 26 is great, and in a few short months I will be 27 (eek!), most of the time I feel like I'm 85. This is because I have the back and body of an 85-year-old. No, I'm not wrinkly and I don't wear jumpsuits, but I am crooked and often have a hard time getting up off of the couch. I can throw my back out just by sneezing. That should be considered an art form. The good news is that my chiropractor says I'm fixable. The bad news is that my spine is bending the wrong way (and not even backward like in scoliosis, but sideways like the letter C) and my neck is all twisted. How does one even get to be that way? I don't walk around intentionally like a Seuss character so I can be all wiggly and wobbly, but somehow that has become my fate. I joke with Evan that one day when we actually are 85 he will be all wrinkly and old-man and I will finally have the fantastic body of a 26-year-old.

Or maybe I'll just stay 10.