Summer holidays and Little Person has been stretching into a bean pole. By which I mean the clothes I bought in April are all too short. If I had bought her school shoes at the beginning of the holidays, they would already be too small. The out of reach places for my secret chocolate stash are out of reach no more.
Over the last week or three, Little Person has been permanently tired or hungry or both and regularly complaining about any bump or bruise. And getting dressed into clothes that don’t fit – too tight, too short, wrong shape, is an awkward and uncomfortable business. Sometimes it means accepting that the dress is now only a tunic and needs leggings underneath. Sometimes it means old favourites need to be put to one side to make space for something new that will fit. (Which is what a recent shopping trip was all about. I am glad to report we both survived. Can’t say the same for the bank balance.)
But nobody is about to jump on Little Person and say, “Hold it right there, kiddo! No more growing for you! It’s too expensive, too uncomfortable and besides that we have to learn to relate to you in a whole new way as you learn new skills! So just stay as you are, forever! It would just be so much more convenient for everybody.”
Even Little Person can see the advantages of growing. Despite the grumpy, she is noticing that she can do more things, and that the added responsibility of growing up is accompanied by greater freedom of choice.
And yet, it is so easy as adults to think that once we stop growing on the outside, we should stop growing on the inside too. Change is bad, we say. If not in ourselves, certainly in our friends and family change is bad. It’s uncomfortable. It makes the person look different, act different. Which means we would have to actually make space for that person to grow, and learn to deal with them the way they are, rather than the way we wish they would be.
So if you know somebody who is doing some growing, be careful that you’re not the one saying, “Hold it right there, kiddo!” Because growing is uncomfortable enough as it is, without people telling you off.