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on growing up

November 18, 2011

I grew up in a desert-scape of rock gardens, cactus blooms, clacking palm fronds, and golden sky-dome.  I grew up in the Arizona desert where we fried eggs on aluminum foil on the sidewalks, took glorious mudbaths in the baked dirt of the back yard, and swam like fish gulping life-giving swimming pool chlorine.  In pre-school, I scraped frost off of my dad’s windshield, balled it in a paper cup, and took my “snowball” into school for show and tell.  The snowball lived in our freezer for another six months.  It held the same attraction as a saint’s head at the end of a pilgrimage.

And then we moved to Pennsylvania when I was six.  My memory of the first drive to our new home is of green…green forests, green sunlight, green fields, green grass.  The meager growths of green so celebrated in the desert seemed here to be riotously, ridiculously abundant.

Some parts of life are like a desert, where we rejoice over each blade of tough grass that pushes obstinately between rock garden boulders.  Some parts of life are a field of impossible fecundity.  Growing, at any rate, is something worth celebrating.  But one thing I know is this…There’s no such thing as grown up.

I thought I’d be grown up when I turned 18 and left for college, hit 21 and crossed that hurdle, said “I do” at the altar, assumed the grown-up title of Mrs. Hendrickson to a group of high school students, birthed new life into the world.  But to say that I’ve actually hit a point where I feel grown up?  Well, I’d be lying.

It’s more accurate to say “I’m growing up.”

I intend to keep saying that even when I hit 64.  And 80.  And 91, God willing.

Because even though it seems that my physical growth has slowed compared to the quicksilver changes I see in Little Friend, my soul is still stretching, trying, learning, revising, rejoicing.

To say that I’d want to stop that process with a definitive “I’m grown up” would be to halt in the midst of a great adventure.

Because even grown-ups can appreciate the miracle of a snowball in a desert, right?

This post is shared with The Gypsy Mama’s Five Minute Fridays.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2011 10:19 am

    Beth, as always, I’m enthralled by your post. You’ll be happy to know that when I moved to Northern Japan at 23, and we had our first “snow fall” I made a tiny snow man on a plate and put him in my freezer. Now, I should probably mention that I scraped the tiny flurries of snow off of our balcony to do so. If only I’d known I would have 50+ feet to play with over the next few months and that I’d build a snow man as big as me, and see snow sculptures as big as city high-rises, I might not have been so excited that first night. But I’m glad I had no clue what was coming; ignorance is bliss!

  2. November 18, 2011 1:37 pm

    I love your post so much. Not only is your writing stunning — inviting me in, with such rich, captured beauty, your precious childhood — but the truth you offer is so important! Your line, “There’s no such thing as grown up” is so encouraging and life-giving. He is never finished molding us to His likeness. Thank you! (Had to share your post on my facebook page.) 🙂

  3. November 18, 2011 7:25 pm

    love this! and yes, grown-ups can still appreciate those snowballs 🙂

  4. November 18, 2011 10:42 pm


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