Monday, December 21, 2009

Hattie (Growing Up is Hard to Do)

A revelation and a confession (my husband’s revelation about me this weekend and my confession that it is true): I like cartoons... and not just any cartoons, the ones meant for four-year-olds. I don’t know what my problem is. I am regressing, I think.

Listening to seniors’ stories and challenging myself to think through them by keeping this blog has really helped me come to terms with the reality of aging. I’m excited. Like I’m training for some marathon. I am hitting 30 next year so this is my mental preparation, so I can hit the ground (of course I’m not calling it a hill, no way is aging a downhill thing!) running.

But no matter what head games I play, there is always going to be a part of me who doesn’t want to grow up. Growing up is hard to do, Hattie is right. And maybe it’s alright for me to admit it and laugh about it too.

Hattie Lee Ellerbe

Growing up is Hard to Do!

In spite of the many hardships my family endured coming up, I never wanted to be “grown”.  I wanted to stay a child and “play, play, play”.  I thought if I could do as I pleased, I could be happy for the rest of my life.

I quickly learned, as a teenager, this was not possible.  The responsibilities of getting an education and completing high school became a priority for me.

Being a middle child always made me “special”.  I was little sister to my two older sisters and big sister to my two little sisters.

Since I was the tallest of all my sisters, hand me down dresses were always too short and in “my wildest imagination” too worn . . . but I had to wear them any way.  My two older sisters were always nice and neat.  My two younger sisters were always nice and neat.  Because I was a tom boy, wearing four year old “hand me down”, there was nothing to hand down to my little sisters.  Grandmom never let me forget how “rough” I was on shoes and clothes.  If I hadn’t been so proud of my even, white teeth, I would have told her that the clothes were worn out when I got them.

Being a middle child was different for me because I was the only one out of five sisters who graduated in the fall.  The other four graduated in June.  Grandmom was horrified and declared she never heard of anybody graduating in the winter . . . even though I managed to do it 3 times.

I rode bikes, played marbles, boxed boys and played boy games.  No one ever thought I would grow up to be a girl.  One of my “boyfriends” even said to me “Hattie Mae” if I had known you were going to grow up to be a “girl”, I would have introduced you to some boys.