Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Won't Grow Up!

Okay, so maybe "I Won't Grow Up" isn't exactly what I'm all about here. See, I don't really mind the gradual assent of my age. I actually am enjoying a lot of the things that getting older brings (graduation from school, marriage, darn cute kids, etc.) But I have major issues with change lately. I've been extremely big on traditions my entire life. I guess I get it from my mother. It keeps things grounded, somewhat predictable, and close knit. As a child I knew we had traditions that would keep me close to the ones I loved. I looked forward (and was incredibly loyal) to them.

Every Sunday we ate fruit, toast, and cheese at Grandma's house. Every Saturday before Easter we hunted for hundreds of eggs at the Randle's house, culminating in the hunt for the BIG EGG containing 10 dollars cash and other treats. Every 4th of July we watched the parade from the same spot on center street and ate spareribs at Grandma and Grandpa's. Every Christmas morning we'd send Dad downstairs to see if Santa had come, then we'd line up youngest to oldest on the stairs and head down to see the delights. I have too many traditions that are close to my heart to even begin to write them all.

And the thing that I hate about growing up is seeing traditions end. I guess I understand that they have to. No mother wants to spend an hour hiding eggs for her 30 year old children to hunt. I don't want my sweet aging grandfather to save me a seat along the parade route when he should be at home taking care of himself. And I certainly don't expect to be able to sleep in my old room with Cam, Joel, and Courtney on Christmas Eve and send Dad down in the morning to see what the jolly elf brought us--We're more concerned with what St. Nick brought our own munchkins.

I know that some traditions end, but what I mourn the most is losing the connections with loved ones. Its not a big deal to miss out on a parade. But then I miss out on seeing Great Aunt Yyvonne and Uncle Ted. I won't get to see how my cousin's kids are growing. And I really don't mind not having the chance to find the BIG EGG but it does make me a little sad to realize that Murphy is now 18, Charlotte is a Japanese cartoonist, Cammon owns a huge t.v. (and the house that holds it) and Ginna lives in Kansas City (I think anyway) and I had no idea!

Peter Pan was right in realizing that if he never grew up, he'd keep his gang of lost boys close to him forever. But sadly, it didn't work out for him that way. Wendy, Michael, John, and the boys grew up. Things changed. And connections were lost. I guess we're all like that too. Its natural. Its part of life. But it doesn't make it easier for me.

My biggest fear is losing ones who are close to me. Besides my cousin (who was a good 15 years older than me) who passed away when I was in first grade and some great aunts and uncles, no one I have been close to has died. A few weeks ago we had a church lesson about LDS Family Services and the woman said "If no one close to you has died, it will happen soon. Most likely, very soon." I hated her for saying that. Because I don't know what I will do when it happens. Grandma and Grandpa Ras are both having struggles with their health. Grandpa just suffered a stroke. Grandma Williams is doing incredibly well but I don't know how much longer we'll get her (she's about to turn 95!) Dan's grandma has been in the hospital 3 times in the last 2 weeks (her heart). So many of our traditions center around these sweet, good, righteous people.

Maybe, like Peter Pan, its not me that I'm concerned about growing up, but maybe its everybody else.

8 comments:

Emily Ramussen said...

I guess it was reading about grandma and grandpa Ras that left me with a little tear streaming down my cheek after reading your entry. Stew and I have been talking a lot about just that; losing our loved ones and life speeding by us. My greatest fear is losing my loved ones too. Being the baby of my family I mourned every time one of my siblings "grew up" and left me behind.That's why I am the one throwing my family's reunions and such. I have always fought to keep my loved close whether they liked it or not. :0) My childhood traditions crumbled before my childhood was really over and that was so sad for me. But I just try to tell myself with change comes growth and with growth comes greater happiness. Even though the growing part really hurts new traditions are made and we find a new chapter to life that is bright and happy although very different.

sorry my comments keep getting longer and longer! :0)

Ginna said...

Wow. This entry really made me sad and happy at the same time. I so know exactly how you feel. Traditions are really part of the fabric of our families and our lives, and your mom and my mom both did an awesome job of establishing and/or continuing those traditions. It's tough to see them go. It's tough to be the person that breaks out of the traditions first--like me! I felt so bad the first few times I missed stuff, and then when we moved away not only did I feel sad for myself, but I felt bad for everybody else, because of course without everybody there things are never the same, even if they are happy and wonderful.
And poor Murphy is like Emily who commented before me--most of our traditions were probably crumbling just as he got to where he was really enjoying them.
But--you know what--our job now is to make up new traditions or continue on our family's traditions for our little families, so they can feel the same special way we did. And thank heavens (literally) for the gospel, or how else could we afford to love our families like we do? It's so incredibly comforting to me that we'll all be together again. Otherwise how could we ever feel like we could get on with our lives?
So there you go--longest comment ever.
But I really do want to know something.
Why DON'T moms hide eggs for their 30 yr olds to find?? I think maybe we should do something about that!
And also--I'm so so so glad to be back in touch with you. So sad to lose track of the best people in our lives. :)

Ginna said...

WOW! Holy longest comment ever!! It was even worse than I thought!!

Tiffany said...

Your post rang so true to me- especially being away from home and missing all the traditions I love so much. I mention them regularly on my blog just so I can remember them and the people back home will know I miss them and long to be with them! My grandparents are also getting old and sick. Somehow I thought they'd be around forever- ya know? I can't imagine life without them--it's just too weird! When my great grandma died, my grandma said "I never thought she'd leave me! Even if she's 94!" But life goes on and like Ginna said, thank heavens for the gospel! Without it, life would be a lot lot harder. (this is officially my longest comment too!)

Erica said...

I really loved this post and the thoughts that it started in my mind. I kept saying while reading "Me too! Me too!" to the traditions we'd do when I was little and how I feel now. Your last sentence really made sense to me and it saddens me that it is true...I don't want anyone to grow up! You're awesome Megan!

k said...

My dear sweet Megs - how deeply I understand these things you have said, and said so well, so very well. Perhaps we spoiled you kids by building such a wonderful place for you—spoiled by love. My folks had traditions, too, and they really meant home to me—to me, the kid who never lived in the same house, city or state longer than eight years, and who averaged about three and a half years in any given place.

The traditions literally were my home. When my mom joined the church, my parents decided we wouldn't have plastic egg hunts anymore - but they didn't tell us that till Easter, when suddenly, all the earthly magic was simply gone. We threw such a fit, dad (who was sooooo not into the church) hurried and hid a dozen eggs in the back yard. I remember trying very hard to pretend to myself that this was normal - this was home, even though the eggs were empty and there were so few of them, and obviously, my parents didn't get the point of it all.

Maybe that's why you guys got several hundred eggs. All that money and all those hours - and your mother and I would not take back a single second of it, except maybe the moment it took for me to invite the Ruffs that one year - Larry put snakes in the eggs.

But what I have found since I was married was that the people who come, little, into your house need traditions that are a mix of yours and Dan's. That their sweet grandpa will be Lind, that their aunts and great aunts will include Beth and Courtney. They will see in you and your family that same magic and depth of love.

I guess the shocking thing about "growing up" is it's kind of "up the line." My own sweet mother, last time they visited and I shared some Bath and Bodyworks lotion with her, tried to lick it off her hand. Like that story of Meridee's grandma, eating the rose. I fell apart at the end of that visit. In pieces. I am the mother now. And becoming the grandmother, and so I am the stage manager, the woman behind the curtain.

This job has its own magic. Creating wonder and delight - there are worse things to turn your hand to. We loved watching you kids go after the eggs. We loved making up those STUPID hints for the big egg. We love knowing you guys are at the stairs, waiting - and we torture you by making you put on robes and brush your hair, just the way my mom tortured me. The only difference is that our video cameras don't need this huge bank of blinding lights my dad used to use - MERRY CHRISTMAS - oh, wait - I'm blind.

Ginna mentioned poor Murphy, but even though Murphy has missed some things (like dinner around the table - like who was ever there at the same time to eat by that time?), he has a very deep sense of these things - he remembers, and his soul remembers. And I still make him wait on the stairs and brush his hair. Or at least, I will this Christmas. But next Christmas, he will be gone, too. And probably Char will be in Japan.

That's the thing that I fear right now. How will Christmas feel - after all those wonderful years with you guys. Hilarious, delightful, noisy, amazing years—how will it be to live in a quiet house? I almost can't bear the thought.

But you are in the best years. You will be the master and mistress of magic. You will wield delight like a sword cutting through the darkness. You will be the joy in the world, the safe place, and eventually, the sweet great aunt. And I have to tell you—there won't be many people in the history of the world who will have done it better because joy is your gift.

k said...

By the way, I still have ALL the eggs. Even the red one. So one of these years . . .

Cuddlydoll said...

Very sweet sentiments. I can relate to how you are feeling. It has been especially hard for me when we had C and we are so far from our families that we miss out on those little things the mean everything.

I have decided that it is more important for me to create those traditions and memories for my own family instead of mourning the loss of what I used to have.

As for losing loved ones. That is the hardest, no matter what. We can be comforted by our beliefs in eternal families but even that won't take away the heartache we feel at losing someone so close.

When I think about losing a loved one I often think back to The movie Shadowlands based on the life of C.S. Lewis. His wife is dying of cancer and he is having a hard time accepting it. I wish I could remember the exact quote but in the film there is an interchange between the two where she tells him that the pain is worse when the love is deepest and it's worth the pain to experience the love.

Wow. Now you got me crying. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. These are things that we don't think of often and need reminding about ho precious our relationships are and the attention they should be given.

Thanks.

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