I roller-skated to school one day when I was in Mrs. Jones' first grade class. I was waiting by my classroom door when I noticed how very tall I felt. I wondered, as I thought about my tallness, how I would be different when I was grown up.
It is one of those solid moments that has served as something of a gauging memory for the rest of my life. I've realized from age to age that I haven't changed a bit. I felt, in first grade, that if someone would give me a job, I could pretty much take care of myself if necessary. I was me and that's all it would take.
That's pretty adult thinking, I guess, but I don't really think we ever were children in our own heads. I think we've just always been "us" placed in a changing package. The thing is, we don't see the changes. I feel like the very same person I was when I was standing on my skates outside of my classroom. I'm still looking out at the world like I always did and my thoughts, I think, were every bit as complex then as they are today. I wasn't watching me change, either. I was watching the world.
Today I'm still the same person I was when I was six. What I do wonder, now, is when people stopped laughing when I tripped and fell and started wringing their hands? I wish they'd still laugh because it is still funny even if it hurts a little longer. People, I guess, are looking at the packaging and not me anymore.
I look at my four and six-year-old granddaughters and find myself realizing that they undoubtedly are experiencing the same things as I have. They are first, and foremost, people. They are not aware that their thinking is immature. We underestimate children alot, I suppose, because we don't remember like we should. But I also think that people underestimate us, the older packages, for the same reason. Everyone should remember that we, too, are the very same person we were when we were six or twenty-one or fifty. I want to be remembered that way. Not as a six-year-old, but simply as a person who is as viable as anyone else. And someone who looks just as funny when she walks into the edge of a door.