Tomorrow is my birthday. That statement always causes me to have a moment of reflection. Several actually. Sometimes I groan. Sometimes I get grumpy. Then, I eat cake. The number of years I have to admit to is always a shock though, because one thing remains true from year to year and decade to decade. No matter how I look in the mirror's reflection or to people around me, no matter that I am actually somebody's GRANDMOTHER, no matter what changes occur in the 364 days that pass from birthday to birthday to the body I wear, the essential being that I am inside remains pretty much the same. Seriously.
What I mean by this is that, although I learn new things with my brain and have new experiences all the time with the body--some positive and some negative on both counts-WHO I am inside and my way of processing things is pretty much the same as when it stopped changing around the age of ten. So, I am essentially the kid I always was and WHOOPPEE.... I always will be.
That is probably why I always get along with children and dogs and why I can write so easily for children. Because I haven forgotten for a second, not for a second, what it's like to be a kid and see like a kid behind my lined adult face.
I confess that Christmas and Halloween are still my favorite holidays. I eagerly read every Harry Potter book and I love Butterbeer. I wear a Hogwarts tShirt on the Forbidden Journey and The Cat and The Hat rides at Universal. I still suspect there may just be fairies and things that go bump in the night. I always 'hear the bells' and if the Polar Express should happen to stop at my door I will hop aboard. And not just for the hot chocolate. I love Wonka bars and I would love to see Oopma Loompas and a bitchy girl turn into a giant blueberry! I'd be game to ride a giant war bear to find the Golden Compass and Harry's cloak of invisibility would suit me up just fine. I actually think I may just have seen Tinker Belle flashing on an off last year in the North Carolina mountains, too. And I know that Wonderland lies on the other side of the rabbit hole in the woods. The door knob told me that a long long time ago, way back in the twentieth century. So there.
I know about it, because I've seen Wonderland, even if only in dreams, and I hope somehow that you have too. If my house blows away during a tornado and lands somewhere else on a pair of legs in striped stockings and ruby slippers I'll have one up on Dorothy though, because I wear an adult body that has had much experience thanks to Madame Time. It knows the striped stockings would be hot and the pointed toed glittery red slippers would hurt my bunions, so I'll pass and keep on wearing my adventure sandals. Oh, and I do I know where the yellow brick road leads to anyway, which is to a city that is painted green but isn't eco friendly. I know that the Munchkins have been huffing something illegal---lollypop league or not. The wizard is just a con man from the midwest who's going to run for national office next year. But I'm gonna sign on with the Tinman and the Scarecrow and the lion and ride in Glinda's bubble anyway if the opportunity arises, 'cause I still know how to have fun! So what if I'm not in Kansas anymore. It's mostly flat anyway.
But, I won't eat green eggs and ham, because my body has learned the consequences of eating food with green stuff on it. That's okay-- I knew better than that at ten!
So, its my birthday. Drink up me hearties and show me the horizon! Here's a toast to the undead monkey and a raspberry to the krakken. Who cares what the mirror and my birth certificate say. Here's to being ten again for another year!
By Nancy Wayman Deutsch
I was ten once long ago.
Ten on the outside I mean.
Inside I'm still ten,
sometimes, ten and a half
which is six moons past July,
or I'm ten minus a half
which I guess, would be five
depending on whether I'm right side up or upside down.
I still see things like a girl of ten, or five:
the way dogs smile, and a caterpillar dancing on a twig,
the way lizards are really dinosaurs, shrunken down to manageable size.
I'm Alice fallen down a rabbit's hole,
or I'm a princess in a castle built of books
dancing in crystal shoes past twelve on nimble feet,
feet that never hurt at all.
I know spiders hold all the evil in the world in their fat, squishy bellies
and fireflies are really golden fairies.
I know I'll live forever, somewhere
maybe on the other side of the universe from here
because I'm ten and I'll never be eleven,
not even when they think I'm eight times ten
in the grown up world other people live in.