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On the Mark, Episode 8: Nine Is The Happiest Number We'll Ever See

May 28, 2009

Hi Everybody,

Last week marked a fun time at our house as my youngest daughter Hannah celebrated her 9th birthday (wow, halfway to 18 already?!). It also kicks off Sibling Rivalry Season, with no school for a couple months.

But even more so, it's the period where older sister Leah is just 1 year older, until August 3. Which will bring me weird glances when I say their ages to a new person we meet, due to their height difference.

So when Hannah was turning nine, I wanted to have something insightful to say, just like Mike Brady on the The Brady Bunch. Instead all I could think up was this:

"Well Hannah, you probably don't realize it now, but this will be the best year of your life. Enjoy it. Because it's all downhill from here . . . ."

Luckily, I stopped myself before saying it. But I must confess, for several days I thought it, lol.

Sure, I was being somewhat cynical, but stop and think about it. When was life ever so good?

For me, it was when I was nine. Star Wars came out when I was nine, and life was never the same. It was an experience that forever changed my life. I even sat down and wrote my own sequel to the movie. Empire Strikes Back probably ended up being better, but they could have shot mine on a tighter budget. And I would have played one of those short alien creatures for free.

I remember being chased around on the playground by girls wanting to kiss me, before they were smart enough to know better.

I remember writing my first love letter to that cute blonde girl in my class named Jamie, and how I devised my plan to give it to her.

I wrote the letter, and I stuck it in the "L" encyclopedia in my classroom. Not just in any random place in the "L" book, mind you, but where the word "Love" would be. Then I wrote her a different note, from her secret admirer no less, that gave her instructions to go look in the "L" encyclopedia for a surprise.

Now at the time it seemed like a great plan, and we actually "went together" for awhile. Until she dumped me for Brian (ah yes, that's when this pattern started, ha ha ha).

But when I think back about the note in the book trick, I realize now that another kid could have gotten to the note first. What if Satan's love child Lenny had found the note before the cute girl did? Oh, it would have been the end of my life as I know it . . .

(DISCLAIMER: These are the real kids' names. If you know any of these people, please keep this all to yourself. I will deny all knowledge of said events.)

Anyhow, back to Hannah. It's just really cool to have a baby who was born in 2000. It was very convenient for me, as I'll never have to think too hard about how old she is. I couldn't have planned it any better.

I picture myself sitting in some nursing home somewhere and grinding my gums (watching some stupid Cleveland sports team on television blowing another championship). Some hot aide comes up and asks me about my youngest daughter, and hold old she is. To which I say, "I don’t remember . . . whatever year this is."

See, very easy.

And when Hannah asks me when she will be old enough to do things, I can be coy. For example:

Daddy, when can I learn how to drive?

"Easy, that would be in 2016."

Hey dad, when will I be going to college?

"Sweet Cheeks, make your plans for 2018."

Oh, you most wonderful dad in the whole wide world, when will I be able to start dating?

"Without question, in 2030."

It's just a strange age, this ninth year, for being a parent, too. A few years ago, I was wiping her behind. And I can still use that one on her. And right now I am still the expert; yes, daddy indeed knows best.

But a couple of years from now, girls her age will be having babies and I'm going to be the stupidest person on the planet. How's that for the joys of parenting?

I'm already seeing that the times, they are a changin' with my oldest daughter Leah. Not so much with her behavior, but with the behavior of other girls in her school. We're already starting to get the middle school peer problems that we all remember. I'm told that those problems are now starting in the fifth and sixth grades. And we've had some issues already.

The girls are already starting to hunt in packs, and they will not hesitate to eat those they perceive as the weak ones in the jungle.

One day when we were discussing some of these problems Leah was having with other girls at school, I actually blurted out, "Sounds like some of these girls are already in training to be some poor guys' ex-wives someday . . ."

This was not what she was expecting me to say, and after trying to comprehend this for a moment she looked at me with a baffled expression. Finally, the only thing she could come up with was, "Huh?"

I know, I know, I am terrible. Hey, I never claimed to be Mike Brady . . .

So anyhow, here's to being nine years old. It is a glorious age to experience. And for a parent, it is the dawning of the realization that having underwear in your drawer older than your kid is something to be embarrassed about.

And now for a clip, here's a nine-year-old kid with an incredible talent. Watch the whole clip until the end, it is just fun to watch. It captures the essence of being nine years old. Inborn talents are starting to take hold, but you still have the wonderment of this incredible world we live in. Yes, this stage of life is indeed the wonder years.


Yes, in the words of Hannah, being nine years old is 'da bomb diggity.

Until next time, no hitting or pinching or calling each other names. And always share your toys.




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