I covet the raw ability children have to just let it go. They can be taken through the emotional (and sometimes physical) ringer, have a hearty meltdown, and be over it, just like that. It’s truly enviable.
Truthfully, I envy their ability to let it go and the fact that it’s more socially acceptable for a child to have a public meltdown than a fully-grown woman. The injustice is astounding. I yearn to live in the headspace where I can stub my toe, eat four donuts, pee my pants, be shoved by my friend, be told that my hair looks stupid, have a good solid tantrum, and then continue my day feeling great about myself.
Kids know where it’s at, and I would like them to tell me where it is, especially concerning the following:
Kids can have a screaming, earth-shattering fight with their best friend, and still happily give them the diaper off their butt 10 minutes later. Even if things get physical, it’s nothing 20 minutes and a shared bag of Goldfish won’t soothe.
If I have a screaming, or even just passive-aggressive, fight with my best friend, I’m still mulling it over a year later. If I was ever pushed, pulled, or (gasp) slapped in an argument, there aren’t enough therapists, cookies, or binge-Netflix-on-the-couch-days in the entire world to get me over that trauma.
Kids can have a bowl of ice cream, be stoked that they had a bowl of ice cream, then move on and forget about that ice cream. I, on the other hand, have a bowl of ice cream, all the while mulling over how it will affect my blood sugar, whether I can still allow myself a glass of wine after this indulgence (yes, I can), and wonder an hour after the ice cream is ingested whether it was really worth it. (Yes, it was.)
Children can let an oh-my-wow bellowing stinker of a fart out, likely emit a prideful giggle, and go on about their day, unfazed by who may have fell victim to the stink.
While I have no desire to hold in a toot, my giggle packs more awkwardness than pride, and I usually end up profusely apologizing to all victims — an event that I will, no doubt, still be mulling over a year later.
Youngins can let out a heart-wrenching wail and impressive melodrama when saying goodbye to a visiting loved one, then be shockingly content 60 seconds thereafter when said loved one is gone. It’s an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality with their kind.
When I say goodbye to a loved one, however, I spend the next three days pondering whether I miss that loved one enough to relocate my family closer to them or figure out how to Skype so I can digi-see them more. If it gets too bad, I soothe my pining heart by reminding myself of that one time they told me my “clothes were fitting differently.” Hm, suddenly the distance doesn’t seem so tragic after all.
Kiddos can be the recipients of the most cutting remarks from other kiddos, and while that jibe may hang on in their inner psyche for the next 50 years, they are usually able to deliver a fairly frank (and often equally cutting) remark right back, and go about their day. They’re often so resilient they can turn around and ask Mr. Snarky Pants to go play some kickball.
When I get a direct, or indirect, insult, I hold on to that sucker like it’s the elixir of life, albeit a life full of self-doubt and insecurity. I cannot let it go. After quietly absorbing my insult and exiting the scene, I need five sessions of therapy, a glass (scratch that, a bottle) of wine, and three hours bitching to a girlfriend about how mean that meany-head was. And we are so not inviting Meany to join our kickball team.
Maybe, just maybe, if I can absorb some of the carpe diem, let it out, let it go, whatever attitude from the live-in-the moment children of the world, I can have a few more laughs, perfectly messy, yet cathartic difficult discussions, guilt-free funnel cakes, and joyfully noisy farts.