She wore her youth easily, like a very old and worn T-shirt or a pair of soft and faded blue jeans.
I handed her the bouquet of 16 pink roses which signified today, a very special day, indeed.
Her 16th birthday.
I’m not sure how it happened, how this child her mom had handed to me only a heartbeat ago had already turned 16, but somehow it did.
As I wait for the florist to wrap up the roses, and tie a helium balloon sporting the lettering ‘happy 16th birthday in giant letters to the bouquet with pretty pink ribbon, my mind to go back to my own 16th birthday.
“Was I ever 16?” I wonder.
I must have been once! In my mind I wander down the long and dusty corridors of the past, briefly pausing at birthdays.
Oh my goodness. There’s been so many, I think wryly to my self as I fit the bouquet complete with helium balloon into my car and drive out of the parking lot.
It’s hard to go back in time that far, but ummm, let me think. What was going on back in the day?
Mini skirts were the rage back then as was backcombed hair that resembled a beehive of sorts when it was finally teased into place, usually with the help of a great amount of hairspray.
The Mamas and the Papas, the Monkees and the Beach Boys had hit the airwaves and Simon and Garfunkle came out with the hit that immediately rose high on the charts, The Sounds of Silence.
The Beatles, that cool little band from Liverpool, England still managed to steal the hearts of teenage girls and music stores could hardly keep their records in stock. Vinyl records. I hear they are coming back. Who knew?
When I was around the tender and vulnerable age of 16, Star Trek was playing the movie theatres and Montreal Canadians were winning the Stanley Cup once again.
But I wasn’t aware of most of those events. Mostly, I remember the music and the mini skirts and teasing my hair into a beehive and rimming my eyes with coal black eyeliner and hoping I looked good enough to fit in somewhere.
I don’t remember much of what else was going on, but apparently Lester B. Pearson was Prime Minister of Canada and Ernest Manning was Alberta’s premier. I had no idea gasoline could be purchased for 32 cents a gallon and a brand new home cost around $32,000.
I arrive at my granddaughter’s house and ring the doorbell, roses in hands.
By now she has only been 16 for about five minutes and she looks impossibly young with her thick dark blond hair tied carelessly back in a ponytail, her feet bare and her blue jeans properly ragged and faded. But even so, it seems to me that already she has a sort of coming of age maturity about her that she didn’t have before.
I sigh and hand her the roses.
“Thanks, grandma,” the newly turned 16-year-old said, wrapping her strong, young arms around me in a fierce hug.
And suddenly, it doesn’t matter that the world has changed at a rather alarming rate over the years. All that matters is this moment, this day and this time.
Because, even with all the changes, it seems some things remain constant and forever.
Really, the optimism of youth and the way their laughter finds its way into the hearts of not so young people such as myself makes being young at heart quite effortless, I decide.
And when they hug you that’s the best!
The absolute best!
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake.