You’re young and you’re grinning on a Christmas morning, though you just lost your tooth a night ago. You have no idea if it’s going to grow back at all, but you show the loss off anyway. You tell your mom it doesn’t hurt anymore, doesn’t bleed any longer, and you can now have the chocolates. She lectures you a bit but gives you a bar in the end. You promise to brush your teeth later then twirl your way into happiness with the sparkles of the holiday.
One day, you’ll lose things you won’t be able to replace, but right now you’re bathing in sweetness and delight and you don’t care about anything else.
You’re in a nice dress when your auntie stops by your house. “Look how much you’ve grown,” she says, then kisses you on the cheek. You take her to where your mother has prepared cookies and ice cream. You eat one, then two, then three, before she tells you jokingly, “That’s enough for tonight, dear. You don’t wanna be fat like me.” You shrug and say, “But I’m hungry. And who calls you fat? I think you’re very lovely.” Everyone laughs as you crunch the chocolate chips.
One day, you’ll step into the world of convex mirrors and fall into the notion that food has to be earned, but right now you have cookies and desserts and laughing so hard your stomach hurts.
You watch Cinderella dance with her Prince as you scratch the dog with your feet. By the time the credits start rolling on the screen, your face already aches from a thousand beams. You convince yourself you’ll get your Happily Ever After too when you learn the steps the Princess took.
One day, you’ll forget how to believe in love, but right now it’s the only thing you’re holding on to.
Little one, I see you from where I stand — marking your calendars before you can leave with a backpack and a dream to carry. I know you want to be where I am already, to live in a cubicle setting with coffee mugs and paperworks and boys that make you feel like you’re walking through lightning. You think that being a child is overrated and boring and that youth is the perfect world of becoming who you really want to be. You see it all in TV, in movies, in the lyrics of the songs blasting through your sister’s speakers — all the glee of knowing more of the universe, falling in love, finding your place, and having so much to learn. You can’t wait for the moment when you’ll see yourself as the main character of your own show.
Little one, I know you think that growing up is good, and it is. It’s finally coming out of the shell. It’s the first kiss of spring on your skin after the fragile and protective days of December. Of course it’s good here — classrooms and dormitories, cheerleaders you laugh with at lunch, boys who wink at you as you walk through the corridors. Think about shopping on your own, driving a car your father brought you on graduation, about everything you’ve ever wanted to experience. Of course it’s good here, in the city of youth where the lights never stop blinking and where the night never falls, but trust me when I tell you that yours is a better world.
So don’t rush flipping the pages of your story yet and live in the present. Listen to your mom humming the same song every morning while she’s making breakfast, a little out of tune. Tease the way your father smells when he comes home after his shift is over. Play with your siblings though you know you’ll lose in their tricky games. Just relish every moment that you can cradle with your fingers.
To the girl I was then, have that cheesecake, watch that movie with your sister though it’s already 3am. Sleep when you can; I promise you’ll feel better and you’ll miss noontime naps once you reach my age. Believe in magic and fairy dust and dance into your favorite songs as much as you want. Love, and love hard. Your heart is still free of stitches and scars. Let it beat for the people who’ll gently hold it in their palms. And if by some kind of miracle, you’d be able to get a grasp on the hands of the clock, never let that grip loose, never grow up.
Because one day, you’ll be me, and you’ll miss them. And you’ll ask the universe to let you trade everything just to step a foot back to childhood once again, but she’ll just smile and say, “I can only hope you’ve enjoyed your stay.”
Fransivan MacKenzie is a tiger princess who swallows words for a living. Just kidding! F. MacKenzie is an aspiring novelist and a teenager who has been learning the game of rhymes and deadly metaphors since she was six. She is currently an associate editor of her school paper under the category of feature writing. She is also a mental health advocate, a thespian, and an absolute fan of Grey’s Anatomy. More than anything else, she loves the sky, the smell of the earth before it rains, and a warm coffee at five in the morning.