Sunday, March 02, 2008
Do you remember being this little?
I came across this picture tonight - I think it's from 1998 - of me and my little brother.
I e-mailed it to him and inquired, "Do you remember being this little?"
Lots of things have changed since then, of course - one of my favorite being the fact that the burn mark on my thigh has disappeared. (Tip for the uninitiated: Never let a hyper cat near a hot bowl of Indian soup that's dangerously close to your lap.)
It's weird watching your little siblings grow up. Not that I want them to remain children forever; on the contrary, I think they get more interesting as they get older.
When this picture was taken, Blake was 2 1/2 and my little sister was an idea. I was 21 and didn't yet have a year of sobriety under my belt. I hadn't yet lived in the Northwest, worked as a reporter, or visited England or Japan. I still highlighted my hair and worried to death about the most insignificant things. (Granted, I was already a coffee addict.)
When Blake was this age, I'd babysit him and encourage him to eat "buk" (chicken), he still liked getting stuffed animals as presents, and he didn't talk very much. He idolized my brother Nik and at age 2, he was already a neat freak.
These days, when he's in the right mood, he can be verbose like you wouldn't believe; he's 12 going on 40 and probably the most mature of all four of us (ages 31, 28, 12 and 7) and - surprise! - he's more prone to be messy.
When I was 12, I thought it would be forever until I grew up.
Not so, my dad said.
That was the same year I moved in with my dad and he told me, "These six years of you being in junior high and high school will go by more quickly than you think. You'll blink and you'll be in college."
I couldn't wait to turn 16 and drive; turn 18 and be legally adult; turn 21 and be really adult. And since 21, he's right: time has flown by faster than I ever thought it would. I've lost friends and relatives and coworkers. I've learned that we have to think about death as a part of life and that we might not have as much time as we think with the people we love. (Or, alternately and preferably, the people who we don't!)
A good friend and I have been debating the idea of happiness - of when it's appropriate to live for the moment, and when it's just not possible. When it's OK to extricate yourself from a situation and exit a relationship even if you will likely hurt other people in the process.
The older I get, the more I learn that the less I know.
When I was little, my dad used to say, "Life's too short to be depressed." Later on, when I was clinically depressed, he began to say, instead, "Life is too short to worry about things that don't matter." It's a good mantra.
I do know that despite the bumps, despite the tangles and things that really piss me off, I am blessed. Blessed to have Blake, and the rest of my family, husband and cats, friends, ESL students and people at church in my life.
Of course I am still a caffeine addict who swears at Oregon drivers, but hey - no one's perfect.