They Say Boys Don’t Cry

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I’ve been in love with this song ever since I first heard it. There are two parts that especially resonate with me. The first is, “Don’t try to change the world, find something that you love
And do it every day
Do that for the rest of your life
And eventually, the world will change.” However, I’m finding that idea hard to live by at the moment. IE President Trump is still #NotMyPresident. The second is, “but who am I if
I’m the person you become
If I’m still growing up.” And, for sure, I’m still growing up.

In fact, I’ve never felt younger than when my little ones look at me and ask me a question I don’t know the answer to, or is too hard to answer, or is something I am still struggling with. I didn’t know I was so uncertain about the world around me until I had children.

The other day we bought a starfish for our saltwater aquarium. We’ve had no problems with the two clownfish (Schwarber and Russell, yeah our house is populated with Cubs fans) that are in the tank. We’ve since introduced a gobie and mithrax crabs, again no problem. However, within twenty four hours our starfish, named “Zuma” by my Lou, was dead. We whisked it out of the tank before she took notice, however pretty quickly after she asked where he went. I got down on my knees to explain to her that he died, that even though we tried our best to take care of him he didn’t make it in the tank. She told me she was sad. I told her that was okay, being sad is a natural feeling after something you’ve known is gone. It’s nearly a month later. Every few days she’ll casually mention that she still misses Zuma, that she’s still sad. All I say to her is, “I understand.”

Once a week she asks me why I have to work. I’ve tried explaining to her that I have to work so that the money I bring in can pay for things like our house, clothes, and food, but when she comes back with, “Wouldn’t you rather stay with me and my sister?” the rest of the answer dries up in my throat. The truth is even more complicated than that already multilayered answer. Yes, I would love to stay with them forever, tucked under a blanket on the couch reading princess stories and Crankenstein in my best monster voice in theory. In reality though, I need to get out of the house. I need to keep learning, keep changing, keep feeling out the world around me because, it’s true, I’m still growing up. Just like my babies are. I’m not sure that will ever change.

It all leads me to wonder– are we ever done growing up? Does being fifty, sixty, eighty years old feel like you’ve attained all the knowledge available to you or does it feel like being seventeen with forty or more extra years of questions built up? I’ll have to tell you when I get there.

On a side note, we named our two new crabs Vader and Ren. Vader destroys everything in his path. Ren seems to constantly be getting himself stuck in corners. The irony is we named them before we got them home and were able to see their behaviors. My husband took this as proof that Kylo Ren is an agent of the light infiltrating the dark. We’ll have to wait and see about that one, too.

 

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