Last weekend I was rummaging through my childhood boxes in my parent’s garage, and probably for the first time ever, felt fully like an adult. And no, it wasn’t seeing all my old Pound-Puppies, baby books, or various trinkets and do-dads that triggered it. It was reading something I wrote when I was 14. I found a few different papers I had written right after I first got sick. And once I read them it really hit me- I was a child when that happen…and I wasn’t one anymore. I never realized I was a kid when I got sick because I felt pretty adult at 14, just as most teens do, but as I read my thoughts of almost 10 years ago I couldn’t help but be shocked when I saw my innocent mind poured out. Let me show you what I mean. The writing assignment was to share about something that recently made us smile. This was mine:
“Yesterday when I was at the hospital there was a really cool thing in the lobby. It was in a big glass box like six feet tall and eight feet wide. I don’t know what to call it but it had a bunch of big marbles that were first lifted on this conveyor belt and then they dropped and went through all sorts of tunnels and ramps. I guess it was like a simple machine. The balls would roll on these tracks and get dropped and do loops and spiral and there were bells and it would make all sorts of noise. Sometimes the marbles would go really fast and fly up into the air, but they always landed perfectly and continued on. I watched it for about ten minutes while I waited for them to take my blood. I hate when they take my blood but they do it all the time now. All the kids who came by loved it. I think it was a good idea to put that machine there because it takes peoples mind off being sick and they just relax. I don’t know if it sounds cool, but it really was. And that was pretty much the highlight of my day.”
It was supposed to be something I smiled about, but now it makes my heart break a little bit. It’s surreal to hold a piece of lined notebook paper that my hand trailed along before anything too terrible happened. My handwriting is still the same, even though I lost almost all the use in my right hand for a time only a few years after. I hadn’t even heard the word “crohns” when I wrote this, but few days later I wrote another paper about how I had been diagnosed with a disease. I made it seem all very grown up, very straightforward, but I was just a baby in the grand scheme of life. Just a little girl trying so hard to grow up so I could deal with all the life that had just been thrown at me.
I spent so many years trying and struggling to fill a mental space that I could not fill. I wanted to “handle it” well but I wish I would have handled it like a 14-year-old instead because then I wouldn’t have been faking it for so many years.
We are always telling teenagers they are young adults — stop it! They are kids and should be allowed to be kids! Plus, they are stealing the thunder of the real young adults; the 20 somethings. Young adults get to be a somewhat wild, a little reckless, and more carefree before graduating to full adult status. (Full adult status comes with its own perks too, I’m sure. Like having life a little more figured out. Maybe? Please?!)
But I know in 10 years I will probably read one of these old blogs and feel even more grown up. I might shake my head at my ignorance or innocence again, and that’s ok. But what I don’t want to do is sigh to myself and say “Mariah, Mariah, Mariah. Why were you trying be something you weren’t?”
I’m entering into the best years of my life right now. It’s crazy and fun and hard and exciting and scary. And everything is about to change. But this time I get to go through it with my best friend and best man that I’ve ever known. What more could a girl ask for?
Life is tricky, so sometimes we have to meet ourselves where we are at, and that my friends, is what they call living in the moment.