Sunday, February 1, 2009

More Like a Girl Every Day



These days I feel more and more like the girl I once was. It's really quite odd, how your old self comes back to you like this. As the years pass, I can shoulder my responsibilities with something pretending to competence, I am a more seasoned mother, I can manage a household and make sure everyone's okay and fed and clothed, I'm not afraid of getting older, and in fact it's good to be able to rely on my own grown-older self. But still, the more this happens, the more 16-year-old Leah makes her presence known.

I remember a night in August, many years ago: I sat on our Brooklyn balcony with my friend Sarah. We talked and talked, sipping our one-beer-each, of all the things that young girls talk about confidingly, in the secrecy of a hot dark night. At last, after a pause, I could feel her looking at me, and she said, "in the end, all I really want is a family, a house and a husband and children to take care of." It seemed so subversive at the time, the least choice among so many, but also quite romantic. I said back to her, daringly I thought, "me too."

Some days I think I've traded places with the girl on the balcony, and I'm back there in that long-ago city night, knowing my willing fate, not in it yet but looking forward to it as one looks forward to going home after a long, turbulent journey...and she, the lovely vivid girl (anxious and excitable and emotional and adventurous, boy-crazy, intense, and a daydreamer) is here, unsuitable but earnest guardian of my adult life.

I think I'm satisfied now that I couldn't have one without the other; wouldn't be happy without my girl to remind me of sweetness and excitement and hope...


"Big girl as she was, Laura spread her arms wide to the wind and ran against it. She flung herself on the flowery grass and rolled like a colt. She lay in the soft, sweet grasses and looked at the great blueness above her and the high, pearly clouds sailing in it. She was so happy that tears came into her eyes."*




*"Little Town on the Prairie" by Laura Ingalls Wilder

30 comments:

just bob said...

What a wonderful post. I'm so glad you're filled with the wonder of youth and wisdom of age. I'm sure you are an inspiration to Hedgie... and your blogging buddies too.

The Idle Devil said...

Its what keeps us young at heart. And joyful.

MJ said...

My sixteen-year-old self would have fallen OFF the balcony from drinking too much.

Some things never change.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Leah, what an intense and tender insight into the mind of such a sensitive person. You was obviously feeling very spiritual, and in a far away place when your words flowed onto the screen.

Any naked pics of Leah when she turned 21?

What...?

Suzanne said...

Hi baby. You know me, I was crying before the 3rd word! I know the quote and often think about my life and what it means. I often wonder how it is we fill ourselves with "stuff" and then die never knowing if we where full enough. I've realized we are. We've gathered all we need to know and we're off to learn more.

I love you Leah. You know that. I love this post with all my heart. I sit here with tears in my eyes biting my lip. Life is good. Life is beautiful. I have the best blogging friends in the whole world.

I love you.

kylie said...

hmmmmmm
i think i'm much happier now than at sixteen even though theres so much more stuff to worry about

BEAST said...

Great post Leah , 16 and 8 year old Beast are still lurking around enjoying the stuff adult Beast shouldnt . I am glad someone else admits to experiencing the same thing :-)

Karen ^..^ said...

I love the quote from Little Town on the Prairie... Those books just never get old. I love them.

And I know how you are feeling in this post, I feel this way too.

In the end, all I want is to be content. Whatever gets me there, is good.

Leah said...

Suzanne--oh, Suzy. I actually thought of you as I was writing this post. I'm so glad you found something in it. xo

Leah said...

Kylie, you know, I'm not sure that I was happier at 16--I'm probably happier now too in a way, but if I am it's because I recognize some of the best, most hopeful parts of myself at that age--you know?

xo

Leah said...

Bob--thanks, sweetie. Really.

Leah said...

Devil--I think that's true. And I've come to realize more and more just how important it is to hold on to some moments of joy, no matter how silly and inconsequential they may be!!!

Leah said...

Tipsy Mistress, I guess a good rule of thumb for you would be to confine your drinking to ground-level--

Leah said...

Jimmy--oh yes, I have some, and they're quite nice if I do say so myself--but they're locked away in the vault, and my pet dragon guards the key--

Leah said...

Hullo Beast! I wonder if my 8-year-old is around here somewhere too--I suspect so--

Leah said...

Karen, isn't it amazing how timeless those books are? I reread the whole set at least once a year for inspiration. Do your girls like them too?

Old Knudsen said...

My 16 year-old self was a chronic masturbater now I can't be arsed. I miss him.

Random Chick said...

Oh what a lovely post! Just lovely! You've given me a new inspiration to summon the creativity of my lost years. Your daughter is very lucky to have a Mother who is so self-aware, comfortable with her femininity, and yet as strong as any man could ever be. What a wonderful role model you must be for her!

I'm glad to know you and learn from you....
XOXOXO
RC

Leah said...

Kugels, well then, it's time to reclaim your misspent youth, right?!

Leah said...

RC, thank you dear lady, that really means a great deal to me. I can only hope that what you say is true... xoxo

Dr Zibbs said...

Great picture! And I love that header too.

Found your blog through Queen Goob.

Suzanne said...

Hi baby. I love you and thanks. You bet I found something in it.

I'm tring to write this in the most unusual way. Bijou is sleeping on my mouse pad and frankly taking up far too much space. He's left me about a 2"x2" space to move my mouse at best. I should kick his ass clear out of here, but you know me, I just can't so I'm working in miniature. It's too funny.

I love all the comments and I agree, Heggie is one lucky young lady.

Hi to all my friends!

XO Moi!

P.S. How's the non-smoking thing coming along? Successfully I hope. If not, try, try again. Don't ever give up.

P.P.S. Your surprise is going to be late. Probably won't even make it by Valentine's Day. Good luck with that!!! XO ;)

P.P.S.

mago said...

Me 16? Noho lady, you do not want to know that - mir fehlen die Worte. Youth is wasted to the young. Today I am a much better 16 year old.

Leah said...

Hello Dr. Zibbs! Thanks for stopping by my neck of the woods!

Leah said...

Mago--now that you tell me I don't want to know you at 16, well, suddenly I'm consumed with curiousity!!!

Megan said...

Ooh, I like Mago's comment. I am a much better 16 year old today, too!

Fantabulous post, Leah.

Skeeter said...

Hi Leah,

This is one of your best. It's great. Wow.

Best wishes,

Skeeter

Effortlessly Average said...

Ah yes, I remember a night with one of my mates just such as the one you describe here.

Sitting in the dark of a summer night, listening to the soothing sound of the crickets, sipping cold cans of beer, pondering the limitless possibilities life presented, when his voice broke the silence with:

"Hey, does it ever burn when you pee?"

mago said...

Nice feet by the way ...

Leah said...

Megan, thanks! It was a pithy remark, eh?

Skeeter, hi and I'm glad you read and enjoyed it. I was a bit worried it was too oddly personal...

Effortlessly Average--there you have the difference between boys and girls!!! ; }

Mago, thanks doll, they're cute aren't they!