The last time I spent a significant amount of time at home with my family in Northern Virginia was earlier this year. At the time I was deeply saddened to learn that Little BFF was having a challenging time with one of her teachers at school who on several occasions made Little BFF feel incredibly anxious, uneasy and “not smart.”
One morning Little BFF and I sat together at the breakfast table and she detailed to me several incidents with her teacher while pushing her waffles around in her plate with little interest in eating. Then she looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I just wish I was older. I bet nobody treats you this way.”
Of course that wasn’t true. I had been made to feel lousy by others in my adult life, and I tried my best to explain that to her. While being older did make a lot of things easier, being older also made a lot of things more complicated. But this conversation with Little BFF also made me remember how life used to be during the final months of my senior year in college. In some ways that was the perfect age. My roommates and I relaxing in our apartment without a care in the world. I’d lay on the sofa soaking in the golden afternoon light watching the birds hop along the bend of pavement outside through our glass door. I would remind myself to live in every ray of sun and feeling of freedom because life would never, ever be exactly the way it was in those moments again.
But while those moments were a wonderful part of my life and have created cherished memories in my heart, I don’t long for that time back because every year and every stage brings about something new and exciting. It’s true that some years might bring about more challenges, but even those challenges are an opportunity for self discovery, gratitude and growth.
Little BFF nodded her head and wiped away tears while we chatted. At the time we were 10 and 28 years old respectively and I told her that both those numbers carried with them feelings of burden and joy, hope and fear. But what was even better than wishing ourselves into the future, or back into the past, was to focus on everything we had at that very moment that made us happy. Our best friendship…and waffles.
From Uzma’s wedding album, 2009: Little BFF and me listening to someone speak at the podium.