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.