Is a child a youth or is my youth no longer a child? Sometimes, I think it’s a bit like the chicken and egg question.
At what point is a child a youth?
I received in the mail the other day confirmation of my daughter Payton’s enrollment in a workshop we’re doing in the United States this coming month. It had details of her conference itinerary and some other basic stuff outlining all the fun things she’ll be doing while Mommy speaks and does a writing workshop at a conference.
How Did This Happen?
But the thing that jumped out at me was this: for the first time ever my child, my daughter, who truth be told I still think of as six most days, or two when she has a meltdown, or even three when she’s doing that independent ‘No I want to do it by myself thing,’ had been classified as a youth. A youth? I thought. Must be some mistake.
So I went to the web site and double checked what I should have seen earlier: that all children eight and up are now classified in the youth program. This somehow has given me pause for a couple of days, in the same way that a kick to the stomach might make you stop and go Ouch! For reasons unbeknownst to me, I am pained slightly at this definition. Why is that? Perhaps it’s hormonal. A girl thing. It may explain partly the phone calls I receive each birthday, my mother sounding very wistful when she remarks: “I can’t believe you’re 30 or I can’t believe – wait how old are you now?”
Time Marches On
Usually these occasions seem more eventful to her than to me, the birthday girl. My beautiful first born turned eight earlier this summer and it passed with a party, a cake and presents, like all the other birthdays. And then this new youth thing.
All the Questions
The other day I picked the paper up again and asked aloud of Payton, “Did you now that you are a youth?” This prompted her to ask: “What’s a youth?” Days ago she asked: “What’s a period?” and this has been followed by: “What happens when we die?” A couple of years ago it was “But how does the baby get out of the Mommy’s tummy?”
These are the things, the tiny little bumps in the road that give you such great pause, that nobody prepares you for, the things that make you see visually the passage of time. They hurt slightly and inspire at the same time such awe that a Mommy wonders how did I get here? One day you are looking at your daughter and blowing tiny raspberries on her toddler tummy, just to hear her magical laugh and the next someone sends you this piece of mail calling her a youth and you stop, take a deep breath, and feel time marching across your heart.