When my youngest was about to turn seven I told him in no uncertain terms that he was not allowed to get any older. Turning seven just wasn’t allowed. He was, of course, terribly disobedient and went ahead and turned seven anyway--whether I liked it or not. Every birthday thereafter it inevitably came up that he was continuing his willful course of disobedience. Once, when he was in college, I needed help in paying a bill. “You’re sure you can afford it?” I asked, needing the money but thinking he probably did too.
“Hey, I’m good. Remember, I’m not six anymore.”
Well, it’s seems perfectly unbelievable that I now have a grandson who is following in his Uncle Blake’s footsteps. Rome was over at my place for a sleepover not long after Thanksgiving and was all excited about his upcoming birthday on January 10. I told him that he was, in no uncertain terms, to turn seven. He laughed and rocked back on his heels and shook his head at me, like he couldn’t quite believe how naïve I am about these sorts of things.
“I’m serious,” I told him. “You can’t get seven. I don’t like it. I want you to stay six or I’m going to pout. See? I’m pouting?”
“Grandma Bee, I can’t help it! And I don’t want to stay six! Who wants to stay little all the time? I want to grow up and do things!”
“I can see you’re going to be obstinate about this, like Uncle Blake. How old is he now anyway? Twenty-eight? You tell me how many years he’s been disobedient. How long has he just gone ahead and gotten bigger anyway?”
Rome did the math. “Twenty-two!”
“Yes, and an old woman like me can only take so much grief in her life. You really need to stay six. Do this for me.”
Yeah, well, he told me there wasn’t a whole lot he could do about it and, basically, that I had better like it or lump it. And he asked for some post-it notes so he could get started on making invitations for his party.
In the excitement of his mother's arrival in the morning he left his many post-it notes on the dining room table. Heather, when I called her, said she’d get him real invitations; I could keep his rough drafts. Which I promptly posted all over the house: my computer, my bathroom mirror, the frig, the front door…
January 10th arrived. I took over his birthday present. His last friend was just leaving an obviously successful party. Rome politely took his gift and began opening it.
“I don’t know if I want to give you a present, though,” I told him, “since you’ve decided to go ahead and turn seven.”
I love his laugh. His falling into himself, his sparkly brown eyes that his father says comes from some Native American great-great-grandmother. That I am perfectly silly was clear to him as well as little brother, Kodi, who tried to explain more clearly to me how these things work.
I left feeling sort of sad. I truly hadn’t want Blake to turn seven. And I really really didn’t want Rome to turn seven.
There is small comfort. Someday, if I’m lucky, Rome will have a six-year-old that will want to turn seven, too. There is that to look forward to.
PS If you want to follow my blog, click on "Followers"--which is up near where Rome's birthday invitation is. There's still only Tinsy Winsy and he's lonely. If you're like my friend, Pat, and fear having to give out all kinds personal information, this just isn't true.
PS/PS For my Republican friends, a little sick of my enthusiasm over Obama's presidency, I'm hoping a few of you will weigh in. KD just had eye surgery; she says she's waiting to see and will then make comment; and Jerry, well, I'm asking. We've been quarreling over this, I think, since Blake was the size he was in his grown-up palm in the image above. You know I'm always eager to hear what's in your head.