Out of the mouths of babes. Well, to be more accurate, out of the mouths of three-year-olds, come the most amazing bits of wisdom.
The other day, during one of our millions of pretend play sessions, my daughter Maricella said to me, "No, mommy, you can't be the princess because you're old."
I immediately broke out laughing hysterically, tickled by her perspective and partly by the truth of it. I had always wondered how my daughter thought of me, and now I knew. Yes, this 45, soon to be 46-year-old mother of a three- year-old was [gulp] OLD!
(Now most people -- most adults anyway -- tend to peg my age closer to the late 30's, like around 38, but that's an adult perspective and not a child's.)
Maricella's perspective didn't really surprise me since I remember thinking my mother was old too -- even though when I was three my mother was only 25. I recently found a photo of my mother and her three oldest girls sitting on our back steps. I was four in the photo and my mother was 26. She looks incredibly young in that photo -- a young, confident and carefree mother of three.
I needed more information from Maricella, so I could truly understand how OLD she thought I was. I asked her, "Are your preschool teachers, Miss Nancy and Miss Tiffany, old?"
"Of course not," said Maricella.
Ah, I was beginning to understand her perspective, but I had one more question to ask. "Maricella, are Sarah and Michaela's mommies old?"
She replied, "Of course they are, mommy, all mommies are old."
Now I understood. I turned to my daughter and said, "Okay, sweetie, you be the princess and I'll be the fairy godmother princess." Because all mommies are old.
Lauri Jon Caravella is a forty-something-else expatriate New York City woman, living with her family in a picturesque English-style Storybook Cottage in Southern, California.