friends · growing up

4 going on 94

I hear it all of the time.  “She’s 7 going on 17.” I cringe every time I hear that statement about a little girl since it is usually a parent’s way of saying that the child is too sassy for her age.
Snuggling-in to get warm this morning.
Snuggling-in to get warm this morning.

My kid, on the other hand, is four going on 94!  And I’m not sure I should brag about that.  She’s the kind of kid people often refer to as “an old soul.”  Case in point, this morning, after she guzzled her chocolate milk at breakfast time, she said, “I’m cold.”  But it didn’t end there.  A sweater was not within reach (She always requests a sweater if she’s cold!) so she snuggled into me until she warmed herself up.

But that’s not all!  There were several old soul/old lady things she did when we went to Hersheypark with our friends Sarah and Molly on Sunday afternoon:
  • Isabelle and Molly walked into the park holding hands.  Sarah and I pushed their strollers (which you HAVE to bring to Hersheypark since it’s hilly and kids get tired from all of the walking). We noticed them lagging behind. I turned around and noticed Isabelle and Molly chatting it up with a throng of people trudging along behind them.  (How kind it was for no one to try to pass them!) There were about 20-30 people being held up by two four-year-olds who were just looking around, chatting, and enjoying the scenery.  The girls didn’t have a care in the world about who they were holding up.  And while I could say Molly was equally responsible for walking slowly, I know she was being a good friend and keeping up with Old Lady Isabelle who prefers a slower pace so she can take in the world.
  • Isabelle and Molly, both four, insisted on holding hands most of the time they walked around the park this weekend.  It’s a cute little girl thing to do. But it reminds me of my grandmother, who Isabelle is named after, since she always liked to hold my hand or my arm in her later years when we walked together.
  • Isabelle doesn’t pay attention while she drives.  I took her on the Classic Cars at Hersheypark and her eyes were everywhere except for on the road on which she was driving. Thankfully, there’s a track to keep drivers like her from going astray.  Google “‘century village’ ‘pool’ ‘car'” and you’ll understand why this relates to older folks.
  • Isabelle loves rides that spin around (not so old ladyish), but she detests roller coasters (because she’s an old soul).
  • Miss Kiss got lots of hugs at the Park this weekend.
    Miss Kiss got lots of hugs at the Park this weekend.

    Long, lingering hugs.  Those are the kinds of hugs my daughter likes to give.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a character at Herhseypark or a friend, Isabelle will give you lots of hugs — repeatedly.  It’s hard for her to stop hugging, especially when it’s time to go.  Kind of like the way my grandmother never wanted to let us go when it was time for us to depart after visiting her.

I wrote the conclusion of this piece before I wrote the bullet points above.  The ending was supposed to be: “I’m okay with Isabelle being an ‘old soul.’ It might not be desirable, but it’s better than her acting like a teenager at the age of four.”  But then I stepped away from this piece of writing for a few hours and thought about it.  That’s when I realized Isabelle doesn’t necessarily have stereotypical “old lady” traits.  She happens to do things that remind me of my grandmother, who lived until 92.5 years-old, in her final years.  While Isabelle might be an old soul, writing this made me realize that perhaps she has these old soul traits as a way of helping me feel as though my grandmother is here with me every day.  That notion is kind of a long-shot, but that’s what I’m concluding with today.

24 thoughts on “4 going on 94

  1. Coming back to writing later allows some thoughts to clarify and new insights emerge. Beautiful that you find the soul connection between Isabelle and your grandmother.

    1. I’m really grateful I took a few hours away from this slice (not by choice) since it allowed me to think deeply about it.

      As an aside, sometimes my daughter, who doesn’t look anything like my grandmother, makes some of the same facial expressions as my grandmother did. My husband, who only met my grandmother once before she passed, has seen it. It’s uncanny (and brings tears to me every time).

  2. I love the depth of your refection about your writing here. In fact, the piece is a little about your daughter and a lot about stepping away, reflecting and realizing that we are all connected with those who have walked the path before us….sigh…such a wonderful and powerful post. It really is close to the story I have been writing for several years….and I am wondering if your lens…that of a child….might be just what I need. Thanks for the inspiration….but I have to step away from my own writing until July as there a #()%#)(%& end of the year reports due!

  3. How very special that Isabelle reminds you of her name sake. It is so happy and sometimes so shocking to see these characteristics in a generation so far removed from the original person. I think you should share with Isabelle how at times she reminds you of your special Grandmother. I’ll bet it will make her feel very special also.

  4. It is uncanny to see family traits popping up in our children. My son is so much like my brother, even though he has never spent much time around him. I love the conclusion that you reach in this piece. How comforting that Isabelle reminds you of your grandmother.

  5. It is beautiful to see your beloved grandmother in your daughter! What a gift! Isabelle sounds like a wise little lady! Those curls are incredible, by the way!

  6. It warmed my heart to read this slice. My boys often say or do a little something that reminds me so much of my grandfathers. I find myself wishing that my granddads had lived long enough to meet my sons. Thank you for sharing this wonderful glimpse into Isabelle’s grandmotherly ways. The world would be a better place if we had more “old souls.”

  7. I love how you kept the piece untouched, but added your reflection. Great thing to show students. It adds to the piece and understanding your journey as a writer. As always, I love Isabelle stories. I would love to meet her if you are ever in Boston!!

  8. I applaud Isabelle for taking her time. Too often we rush around trying to get places and get things that we miss so much along the way. The fact that her actions are reminiscent of you grandmother must warm your heart.

  9. Isabelle sounds so sweet. My oldest is a bit of an old soul too. Isn’t is interesting how we look for or see bits of our relatives and ourselves in our children?

  10. It’s so nice when anyone takes in life slowly. It’s even better that she enjoys it and holds hands and hugs long. I love this post.

  11. I love that you are capturing so many wonderful moments/things about Isabelle, and this one touches so deeply, Stacey. What a sweet connection you’ve made between your daughter and your grandmother. Who knows how our actions are dictated by our genes?

  12. I don’t think it’s a long shot at all, Stacey. I’m sure there are glimmerings (is that a word?) of your grandmother in Isabelle. How comforting that must be to you. I miss my grandma still, and she’s been gone a looooong time. I would love to see some trait of hers in Maddie or Katie. (Unless they started smoking Pall Malls and chewing Doublemint gum.)

  13. Oh Stacey, you are so lucky to have a little girl who is 4 going on 94! She will always have time for friends in her life, the flowers along her path, and you, here dear mum. Thank you for sharing this slice with me today!

  14. Isabelle has strong instincts and they’re good ones. Nature? Nurture? Both? In the end, just her through your eyes and heart. What a great reflection on her, and your relationship with your grandmother.

  15. I loved this piece Stacey. There are times I look at Isabelle and see a facial expression my mother used to make. She’d be very proud to know she has a beautiful granddaughter named after her. When Isabelle gets older, we can tell her what a feisty and independent person her grandma was and I hope Isabelle will exhibit these traits in her life too.

  16. Regarding my above comment, I made a mistake in saying Isabelle”s “grandma.” I meant to say her “great-grandma” as I very proudly lay claim to being her grandma or Bubbe, as she calls me.

  17. I often let my blog writing sit for a little while and review with fresh eyes. I could see throughout the post that Isabelle was reflecting your grandmother’s traits. Such a sweet conclusion.

  18. Hey Stacey,
    Love this piece! It started out as one thing and, as writing often does, it veered into something else, or at least into a different/new discovery. Many people say my 10 year-old son is an “old soul”. Sometimes I think it’s a compliment and at other times, I worry about it. I might try writing about this to see where it takes me…

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