Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Change In Perspective

This one isn't sexy. Sorry.


She’s the same age I was. It’s hard to believe. I have plenty of memories from before I was 7. Episodes and glimpses. But at 7 I begin to remember whole chunks of time. I remember what it felt like to be me.

A friend said the other day, “Do you feel like you are still seven on the inside?”

No, I do not. At seven I felt fully formed. There was nothing childish about being a child. I felt like an adult then, as much as I do now. That is, I felt complete.

This is why it surprises me so much to see my daughter at this age. She’s so small. She knows so little. Her bag of tricks for handling life’s obstacles grows daily, but it’s still extremely limited. Yet inside her, I imagine, she feels vast. She lacks nothing. She is conscious of being completely  herself.

“Tell me about when you were my age,” she asked one day. I found some things to say, though not easily. My memories of that time are largely sad and fearful stories. Contemplating those stories, I for the first time saw them from outside myself. I imagined my daughter in my place. And the horror of them deepened, until I was looking into an abyss of my childhood.

I was so small when those things happened. Vulnerable and baby-sweet, flower-fresh.

If anyone did those things to my daughter I would kill them.


Harper Eliot said...

This is a really touching piece, and so poignant. It is amazing to look at children and remember how well we felt we could handle the world at their age.

David said...

I think children never see the bubble that parents, family, friends and the community put around them; and that is what makes them feel full and complete and equipped to handle life. It is a testament to the love you surround her with; that parents (mostly) provide around their children, letting in more and more as they grow so that the transition is (mostly) smooth.

And sometimes, for who knows what reasons, it all breaks down.