One of my favorite books of all time is Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” I read it for the first time when I was probably six years old at the most. Much of the subtle humor was lost on me at that tender age, but in the nine-hundred or so times that I’ve read it since then, I’ve come to appreciate it more and more. For example, there’s a point at which Jo expresses the chaotic longings of my childhood heart in a way that still hits close to home.
“I’d have a stable full of Arabian steeds, rooms piled with books, and I’d write out of a magic inkstand, so that my works should be as famous as Laurie’s music. I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle-something heroic, or wonderful-that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous; that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream.”
Of course, I wanted to be a pirate author (don’t ask), and now that I’m an adult, I really don’t want the castle unless it comes with a house elf…too many rooms to keep clean. But, other than that, it’s exactly the same.
Now that I’m an adult, I don’t understand why in the world I tried so hard to be grown up when I was a kid. They don’t tell you about taxes or (gulp) going to the dentist by yourself or that having a baby is not as easy as pulling a doll out from under your shirt. And all of those of those games we played…like “House.” What were we thinking? Now I have one of my own. Nobody bothered telling me how many things can break in a house. Like water heaters.
Our attic water heater just decided it didn’t want to hold water anymore, so it decided to share it with the floor underneath it, who in turn shared it with our dining room ceiling….who shared it with our brand-new dining room set and hardwood floor. Whose bright idea was it to put the water heater in the ding-dang attic in the first place? The sucker barely fit through the “Alice in Wonderland”-sized door (we had no “Eat Me!” cakes on hand) and down the stairs…and I won’t even go into the awesomeness of lugging its replacement in the opposite direction. The ceiling is nearly fixed, but the floor is getting ripped out in a week or so and I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that they’ll be able to fix my poor table.
Thankfully, my husband and I are pretty handy people because we’ve been able to fix most of the issues that have popped up over the last few years…even the electrical and plumbing issues. However, repairing the ceiling and insulation was not something we wanted to do on the weekends, so we outsourced. The ceiling doesn’t look like it got caught in a hurricane anymore, but it’s still going to be a couple of weeks before we’re able to use the dining room again. Believe me…in a house as small as ours, the loss of a room is definitely felt. At least my dog isn’t going to bark at the ceiling anymore. She wasn’t a fan of its water-induced makeover.
It is during times like these that I echo Jo.
“I wish wearing flatirons on our heads would keep us from growing up. But buds will be roses, and kittens cats–more’s the pity!”
It is too late to not grow up in my case, and if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have my amazing husband and sweet little boys or my goofball dogs. When I was a kid, I didn’t get Jo’s lament about kittens turning into cats, but now that I’ve had them, I’d pick the kittens every time. But that’s a topic for another post on another day.