The one thing she did understand was that growing up was hard. How was she suppose to be able to remember to make her bed and brush her teeth? It's tough for a small child to make that commitment. Or when she was old enough for school. Who could remember all of those rules about math and english? Some expectations are too high.
It wasn't that she wasn't smart. There were just more important things in life than arithmetic. That fort wasn't going to build it's self.
One thing was sure. There was much more she could learn by reading. How Anne overcame her red hair. How Jo learned about love. How the Black Stallion found his home. How the swiss family robinson survived. These were the real stories to learn from. After all, doesn't everyone write about what they know? Even if it's fiction?
Living in small town America with two parents and three wonderful siblings wasn't as hard as this child imagined it to be. But that's what it is, imagination. We all want to believe we are some hero about to conquer the invading evil for the greater good.
On the day that the dog, she had known all of her life, was taken away to be put down she thought she understood what it meant to lose something so important. She did, in a sense. How could you spend eleven years of your life with this animal and not have some kind of bond? It was a tragically dark day in her memory. She watched as her father took the old friend, covered in scabs from his mange outbreaks, to the vet. She tried hard not to imagine what would happen to him when they arrived.
That first day isn't hard. It's all of the days following it. It's remembering, as you walk to the backyard, that he wont be there to protect you or play with you. He wouldn't even be laying there in the sun. It's the many times you see pets that look just like him. It's the nightmares you have when you imagine that he was actually stolen and was on his way home to be reunited with you. Her parents had let her watch homeward bound too often.
This was her first real taste of loss.
The second came soon after. He was a sweetheart. He would walk half of the block with his wooden cane assisting him and his dachshund toddling along beside him. Many afternoons were spent with him sitting on the couch and tell stories about his childhood or listen to the children sing him hymns. The relationship these kids had with him was beyond just warming an old man's heart, he had become a friend. The night that he died was the first time she had ever cried that hard.
How do you explain this kind of pain to a child? How can they work through such an unknown?
Change was her enemy. She could feel it. Every time there was an important event that greatly changed her life all she saw was the inevitable pain that came with it. Couldn't things stay how they were? Wasn't everyone content with this? How little she knew of just how so many little events in her life were preparing her for something far greater and far harder.
She imagined she was strong, as many of us do. She imagined she was right, as only she could. At thirteen she had her world figured out. She would jokingly say she had a back up plan for each backup plan. If you haven't guessed it yet, she was a planner.
It may go down in history that the phrase "don't rock the toilet seat" was first coined by her father in regards to this little girl's intense need for consistency and control. If the blue cup was hers then why in the world should her sibling use it? There should be order with everything, right? Isn't that how the world is made? Where is the fun in wreaking havoc? Order just makes sense.
"We make plans and God's laughs". God must spend a lot of His time laughing at this analytical little girl. Only He knew just how rocky her toilet seat ride was about to become.