pink brains, you can see ’em work

at the hole
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

So the deal is, I’ve known Jo’s daughter Elia for 5 years now. And today picked her up from school – Me and Moomin walking together in the sun.

Elia was raving happily about the Best Field Trip in the World that was going to happen Friday. Her “enrichment” class is going to the county courthouse where they’ll have a mock trial, with a real judge, and a pretend prisoner in handcuffs, and lawyers, and everything. I liked hearing this because sometimes Elia can get a bit blasé about things.

So when Jo came to pick her up and explained that Friday they’re flying – early – out to Colorado – Elia melted down. She knows they’re going because her grandma is very sick. And I think she must know that she’s dying. We watched and listened to Elia argue logically and look for a way out. “Couldn’t we just change the plane tickets? Couldn’t I go later in the day?” She was crying and yelling and red-faced, not willing to accept that the coolest thing ever was going to be yanked out from under her.

I totally understood this. I like to have cool intense experiences.. new ones… and I hate, hate, hate for anything to interfere.

And we watched her pull herself together. I felt like I could see the gears turning as she realized:

a) I’m upset about this but in a way I’m really crying about my grandma dying. And my whole family situation, and everything uncertain.
b) My mom and Badger know this and are watching me do it. They, too, and other people, cry etc. for multiple reasons.
c) Life… and then you die.
d) Oh, shit.

That was quite a growing-up moment. I’ve seen Elia melt down and cry and kind of throw a tantrum – too many times to count. She’s a person who gets very frustrated, and … in some ways is very different from her parents in her interests and how she thinks.

Today for the first time I saw her really pull herself together, by herself.

I said, a bit lamely but gently, “It sucks, but it’s more important to see your grandma now. You have your whole life to do jury duty.” Jo said, “It’s really hard, but it might be your last chance to see her.”

It’s not fair – why NOW… at this inconvenient moment? I saw her realize that no moment would really be better (field trip or no.)

It was intense!

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