Eating healthy, exercise, and cleanliness will keep you healthy and young.
We hear this all the time. We repeat it to ourselves over and over, yet we continue to age. In fact, I think I feel a wrinkle slowly stretching its crevice-like indention across my forehead right now as I type this.
My daughter is obsessed with age. At times, I catch her staring and examining the creases and folds above my eyebrows and around my eyes. Just like the rest of us, she dreads growing old.
I don't know when it started, but for as long as I can remember her talking, Caitlin has sworn off aging. Each year as it draws closer to her birthday, she gets emotional, refusing to acknowledge the unstoppable number she is destined to become. Tears well in her big, blue eyes as she tells me how much she really, REALLY doesn't want to grow up or get old.
I console her sensitivity, kissing her flawless face and hair untouched by streaks of grey or white. I explain how much she will miss out on, how many activities she will never get to experience if she stays the same size and age. Still, it ceases to discourage her from her goal...never growing old.
For a bit of a laugh (or even pity), I have included some of the most recent comments (short stories) made by my ever enduring five year old.
1) Caitlin bounced and twirled around the room in her pink leotard. The biggest smile of determination played across her mouth. Already breathless from her exertion, she leaped towards me. Satisfaction filled her.
"I'm exercising. Do you see that, Mommy?"
"Mmm hmmm. I do," I smiled at her.
"I'm going to keep taking baths and exercise so I stay young and NEVER grow up," she said as she spun in a circle before me.
Zach, her brother, who was sitting at the table drawing his latest masterpiece, hesitated and looked up to respond, "No, you will still age," he said casually "but Mom said to keep us little, she needs to put bricks on our heads."
---Of course he was kidding about the bricks. I would never really do that!---
Caitlin was shattered. She blinked at me, hoping for encouragement that her consistent baths and exercise was going to keep her five forever.
"Yes, exercise and bathing regularly will keep you healthy and younger appearing, I imagine," I replied, making sure I worded this carefully.
"See!" She snubbed at her brother.
Either she had forgotten or she was ignoring the fact that she had once been four and sobbed when she found she was turning five despite her bathing and exercise routines even then.
2) One evening while we were having dinner, Caitlin began to tear up. I wasn't sure what upset her considering we were all having a good time. I asked her if she was okay and what had caused her discomfort.
Her face turned pink with color, and her lips trembled with sorrow as she spilled her worries onto me. "I don't want to grow up, Mommy because I'll forget the very special memory."
Memory? I wondered. "What memory, Caitlin."
"I'll forget the memory that I want to live with you forever. If I grow up, I'll forget that is what I really want. I don't want to forget," she confessed her heart as tears spilled to her rosy cheeks. "I want to live with you always. You're my Mommy. I love you." She tried to smile as she blinked back her tears.
It then occurred to me that amongst our many discussions, we had discussed the kids going to college, moving out, and getting married one day. This was more to pick at our son who claims he will never get married. He says he'd rather just have a lot of girlfriends.
We will see dear Zach. We will see...only time will tell.
Unfortunately, for my tender hearted Caitlin, time is not on her side. Americans are more geared to branching out and living on their own; starting their own families outside of their mother and father's dwelling.
I fear, however, she says all these things now (wanting to live with me forever), but as she gets closer to her teenage years, she may be clawing her way out as most teens do.
We will see dear Caitlin. We will see...
3) Last night, as Caitlin was in the shower, I put her pajamas on her bed. It was going to be colder this evening than it had been lately. Fall has crept up on us sooner than expected.
A little while later, she greeted me at my bedroom door. I had the hairdryer and brush ready, but something was amiss. Caitlin stood before me, not wearing those I had laid out for her, but instead in a summery type of pajamas. I turned her back towards her room asking that she change.
Moments later, she returned after having changed...with tears in her eyes.
What now? I wondered, sighing heavily. I thought she was upset about having to change clothes. "I have already explained this to you, Caitlin. It is going to get cold outside..." I began to preach.
"But these pajamas are for a six year old," she said fighting her tears. "The tag says it is for a size six. I'm not a size six because I'm still five and wear size five clothes." She had been obedient and respectful by changing as asked, but she wanted to explain her feelings as to why she didn't want to wear them.
"Honey," I began to explain as I held her hands in mine. "You are right. These are for a size six, but I got them in a bigger size in case you grow a little bit. I wanted you to be able to wear them now and hopefully next year, too." I had said it as sweetly as I could, hoping she would understand. I'm simply trying to think ahead and be frugal.
It didn't help. She smiled, but I could see the tears' pace had picked up a bit.
Then suddenly, a different idea struck her thoughts. She took the conversation on a detour.
"Mommy, Daddy said I can't play that game now because I'm too young, but when I get too old I won't be able to play it then either. When I turn 99, I won't get to play that game because I'll always be in the bathroom."
"What?!" I was completely confused. Where did this all come from and where was this going? "Why will you always be in the bathroom?" I asked both curious and afraid at the same time.
"Old people can't make it to the bathroom in time," she began explaining. "I'd have to stay in there all the time so I don't go to the bathroom in my underwear. I don't want to go in my underwear, but I want to play the game, too. I won't get to play the game though because I'll always be in the bathroom so I don't go in my underwear," she began tearing up simply at the distressing thought that she would never get to play a game because she would always be in the bathroom in fear of "going" in her underwear. Did you get all that? LOL
She continued her spiel, "I don't ever want to grow up! Maybe Daddy will just teach me how to play the game now. I'm five. Five is better than ninety-nine anyway. I can at least play it now but I have to learn. I can't play it when I'm ninety-nine because of the bathroom. So, I don't ever want to grow up! I want to stay five forever!"
(I'm really starting to worry about her obsession with age.)
So to all of you and my sweet, age obsessed Caitlin, just keep eating healthy, exercising, and bathing. I'm sure you will look five when you are ninety-nine. If not, good luck finding the fountain of youth. Though, if anyone is determined enough to find it, I'm sure it will be Caitlin. The question is: Will she share? :)