Monday, January 10, 2011

It Was a Very Good Year for Small Town Girls

Seventeen was the age that I knew everything. I would like to say that was a great year for me but it was not.  The only people who believed that I knew everything were my fellow seventeen-year-old friends.  All of the adults would shake their heads and say, "You have much to learn".

As I turned eighteen, I could feel the purity of my sense of knowledge start to tarnish.  So I decided to learn more to gain back the light of knowing everything I need to know.

I learned quite a bit at college. Somehow though, the books, the courses, the friends, the boyfriends only pointed out how much I didn't know. 

So I moved to the big city. 

I kept trying to learn to fill my brain with books (damned books, why do I keep reading them?) and life experiences that would get me to that high ground again.  No doubt, many lessons were learned. The main thing I learned was I didn't want to live in the city.

So I packed up my books and moved to the seashore.

I got married and had children.  Now, if there is a sure way that you want to prove that you don't know squat, get married.  

To really feel dumb, read several books on child rearing and then have some children. Children are happy to show you just how much you don't know. Despite the sleep deprived nights and maintenance filled days, there is beauty in seeing these kids grow up. 

You get to watch them learn.  They learn through trial and error, watching others and occasionally listening to advice from a grown-up. This is a messy process that often leaves someone or something bruised or dirty. It is an inspiration that learning is always possible. It is OK if you don't know everything. Keep trying and eventually you'll get the hang of it.

One day my kids will be seventeen. I am going to do my best not to ruin it for them by telling them that they don't know everything. I hope that they can bask in the light. It won't last. 

Trust me. I know.


zoe said...

I feel this way about people who are pregnant for the first time and tell me long stories about just how easy things will be after the baby comes. I never try to correct them or tell them a more realistic version of life with a new baby. They won't believe me anyway and will just think I'm being mean. I think smiling and nodding and letting them keep their illusions for a few more weeks seems far kinder.

atlanticmo said...

Yes, and then a month after the baby is born they say, "No one told me it would be this hard".