Monday, April 06, 2009

Out of the Mud into High Heels...

Growing up, you weren't supposed to crawl under the fence past the "No Trespassing!" sign to get to the ponds by our house. But, my brother and I never paid that sign any mind at all. Those ponds and the hollows all around our house were the most magical place and they belonged to us. That's what we thought. Spring, summer and autumn days melted away as we played a million games and were young naturalists finding bird nests and eggs, playing with sticks in the creeks and floating things down the streams and our favorite, collecting pollywogs.
We brought the little pollywogs home and put them in the upstairs bathroom, in the toilet bowl and then begged our poor mother never to flush them away, which she always did as soon as we weren't looking. It was OK though because we didn't have long attention spans and were off to the next adventure. How did she ever keep that house clean?
I think that I went through a bit of a tomboy stage because I spent so much time with my brother and he wasn't about to play dolls. When I was almost 12 things started to change I felt caught between an imaginary world and reality like Wendy in Peter Pan, knowing that it was time to put away childish things.
One last day, I went to the ponds with my brother. Crawling under the fence alone was enough to get a body pretty dirty and dusty. I think we were after the pollywogs and got right into the water. Oooops! The reason for the "No Trespassing!" sign was that there was this mud. It could get you! And, like quick sand, the more you struggled to get out, the more you were stuck. So, pretty soon, there I was, stuck up to my hips in mud which in the effort to get free had gotten in my hair and all over my arms. I was a little scared for a minute, but my brother (who would later find himself stuck in the mud and have to be rescued! .. but that's another story.) pulled me to safety.
I think we decided to leave a different way than we came. We crawled under a different fence and into a mostly unused park where there was a drinking fountain and I could maybe at least wash my arms and face before going home to the hose in the back yard... (Again, my POOR mother!)
When I came up from crawling under the fence, to my horror I found in a crisp, white oxford shirt one of the most handsome boys in town. There he was licking strawberry ice cream from a sugar cone with a his beautiful blond sweetheart as I, the swamp thing, emerged from the mud!
With not a shred of dignity left, I had to walk right past their dismayed faces. I vowed to myself that this was the last time I would trespass.
Little c has a million times more sense than I had at her age and so I doubt her journey into young adulthood will have as many embarrassing moments as mine did. But, it's happening.
When she was little, she was my little princess going as Cinderella 3 Halloweens in a row. She loved lipstick & jewelry and always wore a matching hat. Then, The Incredibles happened... don't tell me the media doesn't influence kids! Little c became a Super Hero for years until just recently.
Now, she sometimes forgets to sleep with Pancake, her favorite stuffed dog. She's learning to do hair and makeup and the other day she became quite enamoured with a lovely blue dress. When she put it on and twirled around I almost cried... there's my little princess again, but she's all grown up.