It seems like only a few years ago I had to show ID to prove I was old enough to buy liquor. Now, suddenly, I have to show ID to prove I’m too young to qualify for a Senior’s Discount.
I miss being young. I miss the absolute conviction that I’m smarter than any old fuddy-duddy, that I can do anything, and the world is my oyster. The world might have been my oyster at one time; but the older oysters get, the more they stink. And now that I’m an old fuddy-duddy myself, the more I ‘know’, the less certain I am about any of it.
But most of all, I miss the certainty that my body will do what I expect. It used to be a well-tuned machine: All the parts worked smoothly together to get the job done. These days, I feel like a beleaguered single mom trying to parent a much-too-large family. Every day is an endless round of Me The Mom cheerfully saying, “Let’s do (some previously enjoyed activity).” But instead of enthusiastic cooperation, I get, “NO, NO, NO!!! I don’t wanna! You can’t make me!”
Giving in to the tantrum, I soothe, “It’s okay, we’ll do something else instead.”
That makes another body part act out: “NO! She ALWAYS gets her way! I want attention, too! Me, me, me!!!”
The cranky toddlers’ names are Lower Back and the Thumb twins. On any given day, they may throw a screaming tantrum for no apparent reason; or they might smoothly perform a task I never thought they’d manage.
The Knee twins are mostly well-behaved, but sometimes they can be whiners.
Upper Back is a moody tween given to dramatic declarations that (so far, fortunately) haven’t amounted to anything.
Neck is a surly teenager who greets every task with complaints and martyred sighs, but gets the job done in the end.
And the short-circuiting nerve system that makes my legs and feet feel as though I’m wearing electrified tights? Yep, Leg Nerves are the couch-surfing twenty-somethings who won’t follow the house rules, but refuse to get a job and move the hell out.
All that domestic dysfunction is exacerbated (or maybe that should be ‘exasperated’) by the dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks family pet: The Ghost of Youth Past. It’s constantly bouncing around in the background, slobbering eagerly and panting, “Yeah, yeah, let’s do it! It’ll be SO MUCH FUN, come on, LET’S DO IT!”
But, like most moms, my grumbling about the Body family is tongue-in-cheek. I’m (literally) quite attached to the whole fractious gang. At least everybody is still speaking to each other despite their squabbling; and the days when they all choose to work together are precious indeed.
Now, if only I could get Mouth to stop gobbling up all the leftover Halloween candy…
Book 18 update: Book 17 has been unleashed on the world, hooray! I’m finishing up its post-release tasks, and I’m hard at work plotting Book 18. I’ve already written part of the first chapter, so stay tuned for progress reports!