The children’s story of this same title is one of my favorites. I’m a sucker for those vintage Little Golden books. They’re so golden. I love the verbose prose; back in the day, children’s books weren’t dumbed down for all the Reading Littles of the world. I particularly love this little story showcasing a sweet and sometimes bewildered baby elephant who goes on to learn to both fit into and to love his own skin. In some ways this endearing little guy reminds me of me. Only not in the I’m-so-cute-people-swoon-when-they-catch-glimpses-of-me sort of way.
I have some seriously saggy baggy elbows. Ah yes. I do. If you look at my arms from the rear view, you’d guess that I was a 57 year old though I’m but a spring-chicken-esque nearly 39. My girls like to pinch my elbow skin as hard as they can because I can’t feel it and I let them for kicks. It’s another sign of my aging body playing tricks. My body gets some serious kicks out of messing with me.
This aging theme has become an overriding leitmotif with me. I’m perpetually startled by how old I am, all of sudden. One would think that at some point, I’d get over it already, but I dwell still longer in the perpetually startled stage. I catch an unexpected glimpse of myself in the mirror in the morning, with only a mere sip or two of coffee to fortify me, and I’m shocked at the prominent bags that I see under my eyes. I’m not saddened by said bags, just shocked, as though surely those bags must belong to another. My Dad has those kind of bags and while I think they look beyond cute on him because have I mentioned that my Dad can do no wrong? they look foreign and strange and jarring on me. Sometimes in these early morning moments, I hardly recognize myself.
Moments ago it seems, I was at university studying gung-ho-edly to be a teacher. Just last week it feels like, I was in the hospital, ready to give birth to my sweet Jude, who was easy to parent and to love from even the first rumblings in my uterus, announcing his lovely and imminent arrival. I shake my head to note that this baby of mine is 12 1/2 now and that he’s not even my eldest. My husband went with this boy last week on a three day field trip and as they rode on a ferry to make their way to where they wanted to go, the JoyBoy texted me to inform me that at last count, there were 11 pre-teen girls chasing my Little Love all around. It dawns on me every now and then that my Little Love isn’t all that little anymore.
All of my Littles are growing up. They know now how to cross crosswalks by themselves. They rarely need post boo boo hugs anymore. Each of them knows how to brush their own teeth. Melancholy washes over me when I dwell too long on the way they’ve all abandoned their babyhoods forever. Who will pinch my saggy baggy elbow skin for me when they’re gone? I guess on the bright side, the hope is that my grandchildren will find me and my elbows enchanting. It’ll be so fun to meet them.