22 April, 2009

Being 9

I don’t remember being 9 to the extent that I wish I did.  I remember kick ball games, studying our state, and starting to dislike PE because the teacher had favorites.  I remember my first plane trip and, for the most part, enjoying life. 

My daughter is 9; I have a completely different picture as to what it means to be 9 now than I did then. 

Being 9 is about being caught somewhere between a kid and a teen ager.  It is old enough to have some responsibilities but not old enough to truly understand what “on time” means.  It is about loving life and everything in it one minute and the next… feeling amazingly frustrated or just sad. 

Being 9 means getting to do amazingly fun things with your mom and your friends, but it still means that you are the kid and not allowed to make a lot of the decisions.  It means that you still can’t eat Nutella for breakfast even though it is the only thing you want! 

Being 9 is about testing boundaries.  It is about learning where you and those around you “fit” in this world that keeps changing – at least it seems like a different world than it was when you were 8. 

Being 9 is about finding your voice and learning to use it.  It is about cuddling and snuggling but being too big to sit on your mom’s lap or to be carried.  It is young enough that sleeping with your favorite stuffed animal is still cool but old enough to know that there is a time when such things might be best kept as something done only at home. 

I don’t remember the age of 9 being confusing.  From a parental perspective, raising a 9 year old is confusing.  I am sure that it is just preparing me for the years of weirdness that are looming on the horizon. 

Being 9 is also filled with joy.  There is a love for life and learning in my 9 year old.  For her, 9 is about exploring and discovering and testing her physical boundaries as well as those she is testing emotionally.  For her it is about seeing the result of focus and hard work.  It is learning to expand that focus and take responsibility for actions. 

Being 9 is both painful and it is joyful.  It is the yin and the yang; the bitter and the sweet. 

As I write this, I am beginning to see that being 9 isn’t so different than being 16 or 21 or even 38 in the sense that life is continually changing and evolving.  Perhaps it is at the age of 9 that kids start to realize the grand nature of the world in which they live? 

Perhaps they start to see that they do have a voice and a choice and that they discover the desire to exercise both? 

Or perhaps this is just the age when those hormones really start to build up and become noticed externally via their playing havoc with the mind and emotional state of the previously innocent child?  Those hormones that we deal with for the rest of our lives!


Single Mom Seeking said...

As the mom of a brand new nine-year-old, I LOVE this post. So true. I'm blown away by my girl right now... even in the tough moments.

I'll be re-reading this one!

justrun said...

For some reason, I remember the age of 9 quite a bit. I remember making a big deal of "almost being out of the single digits!" Little did I know...

Great post!

dadshouse said...

Beautiful post. 9 is a magical time. I heard that 9 is the age at which we formulate our gut-level values that stick with us for our entire lives.

And what's with no Nutella for breakfast? Nutella is awesome! :-)