Saturday, 23 April 2016

The awful truth

I used to, thank goodness, keep journals of what the girls said when they were very young; otherwise their childhoods would have slipped away from me completely.

One morning, when elder daughter was three and a bit, she came to talk to me in my bed, as was her habit at the time. When I affectionately called her "baby", she protested: "I a girl!"
That's right, you used to be a baby, but I know you're a girl."

Thoughtful pause.

"Is you growing into a man?"
"No, I'm a woman. I'm grown. You'll grow into a woman too."
Disbelieving laughter.
"No! I a little girl!"
"Yes, but you will grow into a woman."
"No!" More laughter.
"What are you growing into, then?"
"A baby!"
"You've already been a baby, then a girl, then a woman. Daddy started out as a baby, then he was a boy, then he was a man.'

Slight pause.

"I'm going to tell him."

From the bathroom, I heard: "Is you a baby?", followed some time later by "Is you a man?" She got an affirmative answer to the second question.

During her birthday lunch today, we discussed the hurdles of her new job as communications specialist for a small but influential arts group, and told her our own work stories of eventually shedding the embarrassment of not knowing things in the beginning.

And that conversation was about growing up, too.

I'm so glad I wrote things down about the long-vanished little girl, as much as I love the woman she grew into.

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