Coming of Age Kids American

Mama said her life has been filled with sadness. When Grammy and gramps got divorced she thought she had done something wrong. Later on she learned that some things in life just don’t go well together and that her parents were one of those things.

Lately mama has been sadder than usual, crying all the time and

sometimes for no reason at all. Daddy says it’s something that happens to women

when they get older, something to do with hormones. I hope I never get hormones

when I get older.

Lenny (short for Lenard) and me are almost ten years old, we are

twins, but not the kind you can tell just by looking at us. Mama says it’s ‘cos

God knew she couldn't handle being pregnant twice so he gave her a two for

one special.

Daddy built us a tree house when we were five years old; it was

made out of old pine boxes and has a bamboo roof. I love that old tree house;

it’s where Lenny and I have spent most of our time playing. At least it was

until Lenny fell out of the tree last summer and broke his leg. The doctor said

it will take some time to heal. Lenny hasn’t been able to play in it for a

while since he can’t rightly climb up the ladder. So I decided to redecorate it

with pink pillows and call it my castle. My friend Shireen and I play princess

princess in there every chance we get.

I don’t know why mama cries all the time, Aunt Emma says it’s

‘cos mama feels like her whole world is falling apart. I can’t imagine

what that must feel like. I think it would be as if the tree house was

collapsing. I think it’s ‘cos daddy works so hard for us and comes home late at


Last week daddy came home very late and I heard mama yelling at

him that he smelled of cheap perfume. I thought it was kinda thoughtful of

daddy to make himself smell nice for mama before he came home. She just didn’t

appreciate it I suppose. Grownups are kinda weird I guess.

This weekend I'm going to stay over at my friend Shireen and

Lenny is going for a sleepover at his friend Dug (I think Dug is a strange name

to give a kid but what do I know) Grammy says we need to give mama some time to

herself as daddy is also going for a sleepover at his friend Suzie. I dunno how

long daddy will be gone, mama didn't say also she didn't seem real happy about

it. She doesn't seem real happy about anything lately.

Summer has always been my favourite time of the year, we used to

go to the beach and build sandcastles, I always hated the sand part though, it

seemed to stick to your body and get in-between your toes. Lenny loved it,

especially when he tried to make sand balls and throw them into the ocean. The

water was always icy cold but the joy of riding the waves was worth it. We

haven't been to the beach for 2 summers now, Grammy keeps promising to take us

but I think she just says that to stop us from nagging her.

When mama was little and Grammy and gramps split up, he went to

live with a new family in another state. Mama says she got to see him once a

month but as she got older decided that it's best to let him get on with his

life without her, after all he had a new family to take care of and she had us.

I never did get to meet him. Sometimes I wonder if he is still alive but I dare

not ask mama. I brought it up in conversation once and she got mighty angry,

then Grammy cried.  I never understood

why but knew better than to bring it up again.

Today is the last day of school and then we are going on a summer break. I am going to miss my friends, they always say they will come visit during the holidays and never do. Why do people say things they don’t mean, I will never understand this. If I tell Lenny I’m going to play hopscotch with him, then I do it. Sometimes I tell him I hate him, when we have a fight but I always say sorry afterwards and I always tell him I didn’t mean it. He can be a bit of a bully at times, for instance he knows I don’t like it when he pulls my hair but he does it anyway.  Mama says it’s a boy thing and I should just ignore it or better yet, don’t antagonize him. I had to look up the word antagonize in the dictionary. It said; “cause someone to be hostile” Then I had to look up the word hostile.

I don’t see how him pulling my hair while I did nothing was being hostile but whatever, it’s a boy thing I guess. Shireen and I would never pull each other’s hair but I figure it’s the same as girl’s things. Like Lenny and his friends would never play tea party with us because he says it’s a girl thing.

My teacher Mrs. Spreckley says that we must read books during our holidays, otherwise our brains will become lazy and our thoughts will turn to mush. I always thought our brains were already made up of mush, that’s why we have a strong hard skull to protect it. I suppose when I am ten I will learn all about these things and then I will understand. At any rate, I don’t want parts of my brain to be mush so I am going to the library before I leave school to see if I can find some books to read. Mrs. Spreckley said I could take as many as I can carry. She is so lovely, she has a big smile and a gentle voice. She never gets angry like daddy and never gets sad like mama. I don’t think she has ever cried. I want to be like her when I’m grown up, her smile can make you feel warm inside.

Lenny says he has no time for reading, he wants to build an enormous fort at the bottom of out treehouse and everyone will be so impressed that all our friends will want to come and play. I said that sounds like a great plan especially if we ain’t going to the beach again this summer and least we won’t get bored. Maybe the fort will make mama happy too and she and daddy won’t have to spend a lot of time yelling, they can come and play with us and all our friends just like when we were little. I think that would make them real happy and Gammy can make us some cool lemonade to drink in the hot sun. Daddy can bring his friend Suzie with and we can all be one big happy family. Yeah, I think this summer is gonna be a good one.

June 22, 2021 10:08

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Karen Lethlean
05:49 Jul 01, 2021

I think you have captured the child's perspective on life well. Putting my editor's hat on I would change 2 summers to two summers... And one point confused me about Daddy going to sleep over at Suzie's house?? I assume that her parents are now to split up too, and Daddy has been seeing someone else. Interesting touch when you comment he smells of cheap perfume but the child thinks its great to make an effort to smell nice.


Karen Dunlop
08:31 Jul 01, 2021

Thank you so much Karen, My husband made the same comment regarding the two. I should have asked him to look it over first (he used to be an editor) I am not a writer by nature. I am not the best when it comes grammar etc but I often feel I have stories inside, that need to be told. So I am trying this out as a leanring curve. Yes the implication was meant to be that Suzie was dad's girlfriend but in the innocent eyes of a child it's just a friend who is a girl. I appreciate all the cirticism I can get as it will help me to do better next ti...


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