That's my expression when I'm getting through something I don't really want to have to do because I'm unnerved or sad or a little scared. In the photo, it was because it was my first school photo ever. Today it was a dear friend's mother's funeral. The determined expression is because I'm trying to go through it with some kind of grace and calm and appropriateness because that is what one does.
The 51-year-old me met the six-year-old me in the loop of that one expression, pulling me back through the years, reminding me that I'm exactly the same person in so many ways.
We grow, we change, but we are also born A Person With Stuff In Us. Parents, especially those with more than one child, marvel at it. "They just come out with a personality," they say.
With one child, it is easy to either blame or praise parenting skills for who the child is. As the sample size grows, the more obvious it becomes that newborns are already people, not just a blank slate.
The precipitating event for this post was a Facebook update by my niece, who had gone tent camping with her husband and five children. They had a great time, a fact I find semi-astounding.
I was always the kid who didn't want to be camping in the tent. If we had a trailer and a tent, I wanted to be inside the trailer. What I really wanted, though, was to be in a hotel with a Swimming! Pool! and an ice machine and vending machines and beds to jump on.
Guess what? I still want to be in the hotel, not camping.
And while my family was always trying to economize (with five kids to feed), I flatly refused to eat burgers on the rare occasion we ate out. I wanted the most exotic food on the menu, which, at Fred & Myrtle's Drive-In, was the shrimp basket, and God forbid if I didn't get my shrimp. No cheeseburger for this kid.
Fast forward four decades.
"You always have to get the weirdest thing on the menu," says the guy I'm dating. Like there's something wrong with that.
I always wanted to read and write, never to do math or draw or do P.E. or make crafts. And here I am, with four blogs and a writing job. I still have the math, drawing and crafts skills of a moderately talented second-grader. And I'm just starting to like exercise. I've never been on a sports team and probably never will be.
What about you? What has followed you through your entire life?