For they say an old man is twice a child.

Not every old man, certainly – but I have seen a few.

There is an old woman I know who is definitively a child again. I wonder if she is the same child she was before or a new one. The child she is now is willful and stubborn.

If she weren’t in her 90s, I’d say she was spoiled. She expects everyone to conform to her needs and not just everyone, also everything. She gets mad at Time. She wants brunch at midnight and does not understand why the dining room is dark. She insists that she does not get dirty and therefore does not need her clothes or her sheets washed. She thinks everyone is against her until she thinks everyone is there to help her. But that’s the sticky stuff.

She is also a child in the delight she can find in things. She has always had a little shelf full of tiny objects that she treasured. It’s hung on her walls for years. When we packed that box up for her move, she examined each thing as if she’d never seen it before and was newly delighted at each new object. She pulled out a tiny pitcher and squeaked with surprise. When she discovered a scroll inside that explained its origins, (one she herself placed there years ago) she was delighted and surprised again. Twice a child indeed.


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