There’s been a lot of discomfort hanging around. Some stuff that’s been latent for a good 15 years is bubbling up and demanding my attention. You know if it’s been waiting 15 years for me to be ready to address it, the thing is going to be good and rancid. I’d gone about as far as I could go with it, so I called my older (wiser) sister. As we were talking through some of my outrage, she brought up the brief outlines of who I was at 5 years old.
At the time, my mom was the librarian at the same school my sisters were attending. I wasn’t in school yet, but I often went with my mom to work. My memories of this time involve a student named Troy. I had the kind of a crush on Troy that only a 5 year old is capable of. I remember hiding under the shelves and watching his dirty high-top sneakers walk by. No one ever gives me enough credit for being shy. They didn’t do it at five either.
Troy is an extraneous detail. The point is that I wasn’t school age, but I was at school with my sisters. My oldest sister is six years older than me, so she would have been in 5th grade or so. One of her classmates had hurt her feelings and somehow I came into this information. So I found the offending classmate and took her on. Didn’t matter that I was five, that was my sister and there was no question. I was going to defend her. To quote my sister, “you took her up one side and down the other for being mean to me.”
I’m a long way away from being 5 years old. I’m not even sure that we’re the same person. But I can think of my five year old self as being the mother to the adult I’ve become. At least we share the same DNA. As a story of origin, it’s not so bad.