Monday, June 24, 2013

Tell Me A Story

I saw something yesterday at the Food Lion that I haven't seen since I was a little girl. I'm a little bit embarrassed at how strong a wave of excitement and nostalgia washed over me.  I called Margo over and made her look as I explained what a rare sighting this was, and what seeing it meant to me. She was not impressed.

I looked at her and realized that the time had passed when such information would be noteworthy. A little piece of me crumbled. I know it is a natural part of growing up. I don't need or want to be at the center of her universe forever. But the growing up brings about so many tiny, wispy fractures in what once was as she moves on to what she will become. Stretches and twinges, fits and starts, beginnings and ends. We can't stand still as we are.

There was a time, when she was younger, when bedtime meant read-alouds and and story telling. Long after we had stopped reading three books a night, she would still invite me into her bed with the request, "Tell me a story about when you were little!" It was a request that never failed to produce at least a ten minute bedtime reprieve.  Other nights it was a story about when Alice was little, or when my mother was little. Those were the preferred stories. She was not one for dragons or princesses, talking puppies or flying ponies. Margo wanted to know the Way Things Were. 

I never thought about how validating that story-telling was for me until it wasn't wanted anymore. I miss it.  Now bedtimes are full of her telling me her ideas, her stories, and her plans.  That's as it should be. But every now and then I forget, as I did at the Food Lion, and expect that open and fascinated excitement.

I don't have any bright and shiny way to sum this up.  My moment of observation today is just that: accepting the way things are, wondering what will come next.

Oh, and do you know what I saw in the freezer case at the Food Lion?  Frost!  Lots of it!  Big hunks of sparkly white frost in crystalline beauty.  Do you remember frost in the freezer cases at the grocery? I always tried to break off some to eat, like snow, and my mother would give me dire warnings about germs. I loved the smell of it and the taste of it, the texture in my mouth. 

I remember vividly what a chore it was to defrost a refrigerator at home. So I am completely at peace with a world where frost-free is the norm.  But something happened to me when I saw that frost in the freezer case. I became a child again, full of open and fascinated excitement.  

So Margo wasn't impressed. She didn't see the magic in it that I did. She's probably already forgotten.   But, who knows? Someday it may turn up in stories she will tell. And somewhere in the magical past of our childhood memories, the stories will be waiting.

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