I am at our lake house on a rainy day. I sat fixed in writer’s block, and had not a clue as to what to write about this week. Then, I got Lulu’s column by email to forward on to our editor, Bob Stark. I have not mentioned that Lulu is my granddaughter, Lauren Britt’s, nickname. I hope you enjoy reading the column of this child, keeping in mind that she is a child. I do not edit her column, nor do I make any suggestions. It is her own. Sometimes I roll my eyes, sometimes I laugh, and sometimes I wonder where she got such wisdom which comes through on occasion. Her column today is a poem, and for some reason, it took me back many years, perhaps to about the time I was her age. I remembered the first betrayal I felt. When things are new they sting worse. It’s not like those beekeepers that get stung every time they go out. It’s like the first time you step on a bee when you are a kid. It stays in your memory. And, for the first time, you get cautious about bees. I somehow think that it may be the same with friends. Getting stung the first time is incredulously painful. It comes out of nowhere, and the world of trust comes under suspicion. You become more cautious, the blind-faith trust that was there lessens. The crystal ball turns just a bit and the light shines on it differently. You can’t get it back to where it looks the same.
I think that Lulu is the child that is most like me. She reminds me every day of the child I was. Even her thoughts make me remember feeling the same way. And her defenses…yes, they come through too. She laughs, she dances, she is so full of life and I think of my aunt telling me that I was just a ball of fire. Sometimes she called me a jitterbug. That is how I see Lulu. In fact, that is how she got her nickname, Lulu. Because she was one. A real Lulu. I don’t think I could have been as mentally advanced as she is at her age, but perhaps I was and no one knew, least of all me. I do remember distinctly crossing Old Trail Road to go to Gillispie’s Grocery Store, and out of nowhere came the thought, knowledge, or dream that I wanted to save lives. I have no idea whether that is what people identify as a “calling”. I just know that it never went away, and my life fell into place in such a way that I was able to do exactly that. I was more myself up to my elbows in blood and guts than I was running a vacuum sweeper. And so, with my beautiful platinum-haired, blue-eyed grandchild, I have to wonder what she will become. To watch her grow and develop mentally and physically is a precious gift. I also have the advantage of being “one up” on her, because I was once her.
Anyway, I have gotten far off the track as I am wont to do. Back to her column that she emailed me today: I will send it on exactly as she wrote it, but I have to tell you that I recognize several things about it. Many times kids (or people in general) say that something made them “mad” because they don’t want to admit that what the feeling actually was, was sad, or hurt, or devastated. I remember the first time I was betrayed by a friend, because it was such a shocking new feeling. I am no longer surprised when such a thing happens, and I try to be grateful that I learned something about them that I needed to know: they are not to be trusted. It’s always good to know that early on, and it is extremely difficult to bear if you have put many years into a friendship. In my family, trust is paramount and betrayal is as great a sin as one can commit against another. I had a friend in the ER tell me once that people only think they know me, because I am happy, funny, and very friendly. But, Ellen said, they are wrong. Nobody knows you…the real you. I realized that she was indeed a friend. She knew me better that anybody in that department. She also identified a trait that I have never really thought about, but knew it to be true as soon as the words were out of her mouth. Perhaps you have found the same within yourself. Trust erodes as truth imposes itself and causes reality to be part of your life. But, as a child, learning this is just a step up the ladder of knowledge.
When you read Lulu’s column today, you will be able to backtrack to your own childhood and simply insert different circumstances and names into it, and you will recall, as I did, that first bee sting.
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