When Mack was ten, she once asked me if she could stay ten, because, as she put it, “ten is da bomb.” Unlike her sister, who couldn’t wait to be a grown-up, Mack loved being a kid. She was so good at being a kid. When I would spy on her in our backyard playing with the neighbor kids in the fort or on the playground set or the basketball court, I often marveled at how vigorously she played and how completely immersed she was in the role of a kid. She perpetually had a dirty face, Kool-aid stained lips, candy in her mouth, and scrapes on her knees. Even when she became a teenager, went to high school, and ultimately to college, she was still just a big kid.
Now, I’d like to think that some of her inner-child came from me. I giggle at stupid jokes and puns, I love to make silly faces (yes, people, Mack got that talent from her mom), and I adore cotton candy. But, I believe someone else is responsible for Mack’s professional status as a kid. My father was Peter Pan. He was an overgrown child who loved cards, board games, and video games. He lived on candy and popcorn, jumped up and down when he was excited, opened gifts with the enthusiasm of a five-old at Christmas, and adored kid’s movies. Mack had all of those youthful qualities and elevated most of them to an art form. So even though Mack didn’t get to know him very well, she was like her granddad, for sure. They both approached life with a sense of fun and the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a child.
Growing up in Neverland, I developed a fondness for Disney animated films and live-action movies with kid heroes. Therefore, I was always ready to curl up on the couch with my girls to watch kid’s movies; and when Mack was little, watching her favorite movies was the only thing that could get her to sit still. Over the years, we each had our favorites, which probably say more about our individual personalities than we would care to admit! (Kevin: The Incredibles, Stacy: A Christmas Story, Savannah: The Little Mermaid, and Mack: Monster’s Inc.). But the shared family favorite was Harry Potter. We saw all the new movies, and then watched them on video over and over again, I had to buy two sets of the books so the girls wouldn’t fight over who read the new book first, and we once drove to St. Louis to see one of the movies at an IMAX theatre.
The entire family loved Harry Potter; but Mack loved Harry Potter with the pure joy of a child, even after she went to college. After she had been at Truman State for about a month, she sent me this text and image:
“My future …”
The Post-Grad Sorting Hat
I responded, “So, grad school or parent’s house?” Her reply: “Cardboard box.”
Exactly one month later, I received this text from Mack: “It’s Harry Potter month. I’m waiting in line to be sorted. All of my friends came too without being dragged. I chose the right school.” Mack was comfortable in her kid-skin, and I was so happy she had found a group of friends who were comfortable in their kid-skin as well. When one of those friends went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studies in Florida this past summer, Mack called me on the phone and made me promise that I would take her there. She was twenty years old, but she still wanted her momma bear to take her to a theme park dedicated to a beloved character from a series of children’s books. The week before Mack left for Spain, we watched one of the earlier movies on TV and she chomped on some Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans that her friend had brought her back from Harry Potter World. She made a series of horrible and ridiculous scrunched up faces when she ate the really gross ones. That night, she also made me renew my promise that we would visit the theme park, suggesting that perhaps it could be a college graduation present. She mused that the trip would be “way better than a set of luggage.”
Part of why knowing Mack and being in her presence was so delightful was the sheer pleasure of watching her get such a big kick out of the purest and simplest things in life. She really was a big kid, but she was wiser than most people twice her age and older. Like my dad, Mack understood that hanging on to your inner-kid was the best way to be a grown-up.
6 thoughts on “Ten is da bomb”
Stacy, I am getting to know your sweet Mack by your wonderful writings. I remember what a great kid you were and per your stories – she was the same. We pray for you and your family – that somehow you will find solace.
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Mack’s childhood friend Elyse sent me this message: “I cried on my birthday because I didn’t wanna turn 10 (double digits scared me) it was Mack who convinced me 10 was the best age on a walk home from school one day! She also loved to brag how she was a month older and that much wiser so she obviously knew best lol I love reading these blogs Stacy..it really keeps the memories strong. Love you all!
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O my Stacy what memories. Then when you get to the part about her grandpa Jim, I couldn’t handle it and just broke down I loved my brother so much and still today I miss him. He was so much fun but he could also be a pain in the butt!!! Bill and I both have such great memories of him and I was so glad he was here so we could be a comfort at the end but it was so hard. So if Mack was anything like him I would have loved her so much. I was told by Kaidens counselor when I first met her and was telling her why I wanted Kaiden to see her, that writing down things I might want to share with David might help me. I haven’t done that yet but I think what you are doing is so good for you and also gives us a chance to know Mack
so much better. I remember when you all came down for our anniversary and Mack and Zoe spent their time with my little Kaiden who was 5 then and he never forgot those girls they made his day. For teanagers to sit and entertaine a 5 year old says something beautiful about those girls and I will never forget them. Now we are raising both the kids and it is hard . I love these boys so much but Kayson is not like Kaiden was and he is into
everything and keeps us busy and tired. I think Kayson is going to be as smart as Kaiden but with a different personality. Kaiden was more quiet and never got into anything and Kayson is so different. He loves his grandpa so much I think Kayson will push our buttons to get his way. Has a great smile and so really loving. Kayson is so much like his dad, could charm anyone if he wanted too.They both have spent probably 95% of their time since they
lost their daddy here with us which is good for them but a little hard for us. . I know Janet sometimes talked about David in not the best of terms but she didn’t live here because my David may have had some problems he was such a kind person to those who knew him. He was always here to help his father and he did do things we didn’t always like. We now think we handled a lot of things about David wrong but we can’t go back.. He raised Kayson by himself because Stephanie used work and used that to be gone a lot . After David had the 4-wheeler accident of which he was in ICU for 3 weeks on life support and they were pretty close to pulling the plug so they tried one time to take him off the breathing tube and he began to breathe again. Bill and I had never left the hospital. His injuries were from the waist up so he had a lot of brain damage. He was never able to work again but we had friends that gave him some jobs. Helped paint some houses. His thinking was fine but he couldn’t handle a lot of pressure or loudness. He had washed all our windows inside and out for our anniversary and helped Bill do anything Bill needed him to do. Two weeks before we lost him his father and him had planted 4 trees up by the pole barn 2 cherry and 2 appleand where they planted them their were so many rocks it took the 2 of them about 4 days to get it done and now he won’t be here to watch the boys enjoy the fruits if his labor. As I said before Steph could care less and we have to put up with her to keep the boys here. Well I have probably rattled on enough but sometimes it is good to share my feelings with someone .When I lost my brother (your dad) and then my sister Linda the world fell out of shape for me and I became very isolated but work kept me busy so I missed missed many years with you and Tracy and Lindas kids and now I miss those missed years. Of course Bill has battled 3 different cancers the last was 5 years ago when he got prostate cancer stage 4 it had gone to his spine and some chest bones He had to have metal bars in his back they gave him 2/3 years and its been 5 but he still takes trearments and is failing somewhat. He also likes to cut down trees. One about 4 years ago he had to havebone ts taken fron his hip to put in his neck then 2 years ago he had a tree he was cutting it fell down his leg. David was there and couldn’t get the tree off so he had to call the neighbor to come and help. Bill said David cried when he couldn’t get the tree off the neighbor took Bill to the hospital and Stef came home so David could stay with his dad had to stay overnight in ICU.Well I have rattled on enough. Please keep in touch I love phone calls but make very few of my own . I know how you feel and I am so sorry you lost Mack I will think of you all everyday. Love Aunt Becky
Aunt, Becky, I am so sorry for your loss; and now I know it is the worst possible grief. We are sorrowful companions in a very terrible club. Writing is giving me some solace, perhaps it would be a constructive outlet for you as well. I love you.
Dr. Stacy, Reading the blog brings me smiles and I am sure that writing these wonderful memories makes you smile as well. Please know that I am a “Christmas Story” fan…I can probably recite the entire script. I like it so much I have a VHS tape and upgraded to a DVD thanks to my daughter. After my loss of Cookie (my spouse) I kept a journal–all private to me–and I found it to be both therapeutic and cathartic–I hope the blog has this effect on you. Miss ya Dr. Stacy and pray that the path to the “:new normal” is still on the horizon for you, Kevin, and Savannah. Best to you,
Your friend, Kathryn @ the Liberry
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