There were times when I was what I call a “sassy pants” when I was a little girl. I honestly don’t think I meant to be a sassy pants. I believe my behavior is what some people considered “precocious”, though to my mother it translated as “smarty”.
Looking back on my little self, it was really a whole lot of passion in a very tiny little body. I was full of life. Inquisitive. Stifled sometimes by circumstances beyond my control, I felt frustrated, and the frustration came out in, well, sass.
I had forgotten about this picture until today. It makes me laugh, seeing me stand there so defiantly. I have no idea why I was puffing out my cheeks like that, but I do know why I had my hands on my hips. I was being a sassy pants, as always. My mother would tell me that if I were a smarty, God would punish me by making my hands fall off. I would be terrified whenever she said this.
All these years later my hands are still in their rightful places and I have a little girl who is now the same age as the girl in this photograph. I don’t think of her as a sassy pants; she’s my fire starter. I am in love with how her little mind works and how quick she is to remind me, “You mean your marbles, right Mama?” when I tell her I might lose my patience. A room becomes full of color and energy the moment she walks into the room, even on the days all of my energy has mysteriously disappeared at the hands of Disney Magic Clip dolls and My Little Ponies.
I am so grateful to have this little energy whirlpool running through my home. I love her questions about why it rains on Mondays but not on zoos. I work so hard to make sure she knows that we “are still best friends” even if she has to put away her socks. And even if she will move away someday when I am so old that I “can’t even roll over in bed”.
As children, we were filled with so much passion and spirit. Our bodies just couldn’t contain it all. Where did it go? How did we lose it? Why do we work so hard to tell children to be themselves but then work harder to mold them all into the same? Somewhere along the way my passion and fire starting kind of just frittered away… Well, I want mine back.
I don’t care if my hands fall off.
ABOUT C. STREETLIGHTS
After writing and illustrating her first bestseller in second grade, “The Lovely Unicorn”, C. Streetlights took twenty years to decide if she wanted to continue writing. In the time known as growing up she became a teacher, a wife, and mother. Retired from teaching, C. Streetlights now lives with her family in the mountains along with their dog that eats Kleenex. Her new memoir, Tea and Madness is now available.