4th Grade Self Activity

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

I set an intention to honor my 4th grade self more often this year. Today, I did just that. Kind of.

4th Grade.

I ran for Student Body Treasurer of my elementary school. I came nowhere close to winning. I wasn’t nearly popular enough. See, in 3rd grade I had a little accident in the classroom that everyone remembered. No one wanted Pee Pee Pants Dian to take care of the money for the school, I’d probably pee all over it. Kids can be cruel. I just thought they were being honest at the time. Back in 4th grade I didn’t really have many friends to talk on the phone with because I was sick one day and couldn’t hold my bladder in the back of the classroom because I’d been drinking juice my mother had practically poured down my throat all morning. It didn’t help that my teacher refused to let me out to use the restroom since we were so close to the end of class. She felt bad afterward, but the damage had been done.

8th Grade

Pee Pee Pants Dian was a girl of the past and I finally had friends. Friends who wanted to talk on the phone with me the way thirteen-year-old girls want to talk on the phone with each other: about anything and everything, and for as long as possible. My mom had finally grown tired of the line being tied up by me and got me my own line for Christmas. The following February I was on the phone while my mom tried to get me to leave with she and her boyfriend for dinner. I tried telling my friend I had to go, but as thirteen-year-old friends tend to do, she kept talking and I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt her again. Then it happened:

“Dian. Marie. Reid.” The dreaded use of the middle name.

Holy crap, I gotta go! I hung up the phone, my friend in mid-sentence. My mom informed me over dinner that I had proven I didn’t have the maturity to have my own phone line, and the following day it would be disconnected. She didn’t lie. As additional punishment, I was also not allowed to talk for more than 10 minutes at a time, and to no more that two friends per weekday evening. I don’t miss those days.

January 14, 2010

I got on the phone—Skype, in fact—at 10:30 a.m. I did not get off the phone until nearly 2 o’clock. I wasn’t on client calls. I wasn’t on a business call. I wasn’t on the phone with Home Depot. I wasn’t on hold with the [insert annoying utility company that never seems to have enough people answering the phone]. I was on the phone with a long-lost friend.

This friend and I reconnected a couple of days ago after nearly 8 years of being out of touch. We’d been the best of friends during a period in my early to mid-twenties, and then boyfriends and girlfriends and new jobs and moves and…all the other things that life throws (we take on) that contribute to drifting apart for no good reason happened. My memory flooded with events and birthdays and conversations and some of the intimate moments that were shared between us as close friends. Short story long: I couldn’t wait to catch up. I looked at my calendar and had 30 minutes here, 45 minutes there, an hour the next day…no, no, no! None of that would do! I must have time to talk! To listen! To be…ohmygod, I must have time! What I realized I needed was to be free to be on the phone like a kid again.

And so it was.

We reminisced about moves and relationships and homes and animals and jobs. We got caught up on moves and relationships and homes and animals and jobs. And then we talked some more. Truth be told, I could have been on with my friend for another couple of hours, but my grumbling stomach had something else to say about that.

Growth

Today was a chance for me to honor the growth between my thirteen-year-old self and me now. Back then I was trying to make sense of my adolescence. And now I’m not even sure if I’m trying to make sense of anything anymore. I’m just taking it all in and seeing what’s here. Because what’s here is what I want to work with.

While my long-lost (and now-found) friend and I chatted, we laughed heartily and giggled like teenagers; we talked about how the recent years of adulthood have changed us and remembered how much fun it was to be us way back when; we talked about what was important then and some of what’s important now; we talked about our connection of yesteryear and of how wonderful it was to rekindle that connection today.

I certainly don’t remember what I ever talked about when I was thirteen years old—I barely remember what I talked about yesterday!—but I do know that I was and have always been more interested in the connection between people than the words between people.

I will never be the Student Body Treasurer of Stagg Street Elementary School. I’m okay with that. My mom will never take away my own phone line again. I’m okay with that. But I will always be able to carry that nine-year-old girl and that thirteen-year-old girl with me, and show them that peeing your pants in the back of the classroom and losing your phone friends 25 and 21 years ago, respectively, don’t have an effect what’s really important to who they’ve become today. And I’m okay with that, too.

*And for those of you who read Best of 09 Blog Challenge: Resolution and think that I grew that tooth back pretty quickly in 4th grade, you’re wrong. The photo I used was actually from 2nd grade, in that post. Oopsie. I’m still honoring my 4th grade self this year. My 2nd grade self was toothless…and I don’t wanna be toothless this year.

  • Love, love, love honoring our nine-year old and thirteen-year old and every other year old selves – honoring ALL of our selves!

    and now i’ve got to find the post from the Challenge that you talked about, must’ve missed that one somehow – gotta see the tooth thing!

  • Love that you allowed yourself some unbridled kidlike fun with your friend! I have a pic of me up on facebook right now at about 4 or 5, and when I look at her I know there needs to be some loving and honoring done there. I think I will join you in setting that intention for myself.

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