At dinner last night, Hal told his older brother that he had figured out why he (Daryl) was so mean to him (Hal) when Daryl was hanging out with his friend Tony. Now, I already know why. No one likes their little brother trying to hang with them – especially when that little brother is five years younger. Hal pretty much hit the nail on the head:
“It’s because you are acting like a teenager.”
Jane jerked her head up, correctly interpreting that she, as the only teenager in the family, had just been slighted. But it got her to thinking. “Wow. You know when Hal is a teenager, I might not be living at home anymore.”
“You better not still be living at home!” her dad said. “I’ve got plans for that room.”
“But when Hal’s a teenager, I’ll be…”
“Twenty-one,” he finished.
“I could be attending the local college still.”
“But hopefully not living at home.”
Hal looked up from his Daddy’s lap and gave him a big hug. “When I’m twenty nine, I’m really going to miss you.”
“Well, honey, you don’t have to miss me. We can visit each other.”
“You mean you’ll still be alive then?!” He sounded surprised but hopeful.
“I sure hope so!” Daddy responded. “I’m turning 40 in a few days and my parents are still alive.”
“Mommy,” Daryl cut in, “You know that lady at church? She’s got short gray hair and wrinkles? She’s only 37.”
“Who are you talking about?” I asked.
“She always helps with the potlucks. She’s only 37!”
Figuring out who he was talking about, I responded, “Um, honey, she’s older than 37.”
“But you look younger than her, Mommy!”
“I am younger than her, sweetheart.”
“But she said that if I kept doing what I was doing that one day that I’d make her older than her 37 years.”
“It was a joke,” Jane responded. “She was joking.”
Age is such a tricky thing for kids to get a handle on.