So, the kiddo turned nine. Her birthday was last week but since we were doing a retreat we postponed her party until the following weekend, the one just past.
Nine is clearly different than eight, there's the smell of the beginning of puberty in the air, girls become very much girls and yesterday was irrefutable proof of that.
We arranged a disco party, rented a theatre space in Lagos and let Iomi invite whomever she wanted which in the end turned out to be around 15 girls, when asked if she wanted to have some boys present the answer was an actual eeww, like a for real one. But that felt like good news. It's great that it's still too early to bring that potential fire hazard into the picture.
The fact that we have a girl, is in these pre-pubescent years still easier to handle cause I imagine that a party with 15 nine year old boys would have a very different flavor, and a cage like environment with all items wreckable placed far out of reach would be a more suitable venue.
Girls and boys are after all very different animals a difference that is clearly noticeable even before you start putting them together. It's like Louis CK says in his comparison of the sexes:

"Here's the difference to me between boys and girls; Boys fuck things up, girls are fucked up...that's the difference. Boys just do damage to your house, that you can measure in dollars like a hurricane...girls, like, leave scars in your psyche that you find later, like a genocide or an atrocity..."

A wise observation and one that rings true. There was absolutely no visible scar to the venue we rented, they all left everything perfectly intact, but I'm sure at the end of the party there were some hurt feelings, some bruised little egos shattered by just a couple of sideways glances and eye rolls. Potentially creating yet subconscious feelings of inadequacy that possibly could leave scars in their psyches which would nestle deep inside their little souls for years, feelings that could take years of expensive therapy to unwind. Not that that happened, just saying that the potential...

Our good friend Laura, brought her dress up and make up stash and we set up a table with a mirror where they could make themselves pretty for the disco and during the three hours of the party there was a constant line to that table, like moths to flames they kept returning to the mirror to reinvent themselves and we got to see glamour girls, zombies and various degrees of clown like appearances on the disco floor throughout the party.

On the turn table there was a selection of Iomis greatest hits, Little mix, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, there were balloons and glow in the dark sticks/bracelets in the goodie bags, all designed by yours truly to encourage them to let loose on the dance floor, to throw their hands in the air like they just did not care and dance their little butts off, which has for me been one of life's greatest pleasures, and naturally a legacy I would want to pass on to my daughter and by default also to her little friends. But as it turns out, they were more interested in kicking the balloons around, which seems appropriate children behavior but also showed an interesting amount of interest in which color glow sticks they didn't get, and who had gotten the one they wanted etc., displaying an unconscious nod to an adult future where comparison and envy will inevitably be part of their reality.
The real deal started when I opened the curtain to the big mirror they had on the wall, that really got them going, everyone got completely hypnotized by their own image and that got them moving their butts, not in the unselfconscious, letting go kind of way I envisioned, but in a very peacocky, look at me kind of way. But hey, at least they danced...

I had a bed time talk with Iomi that evening, where we covered anything from her birth to how confusing it can be when you grow up a little more and start observing a wider aspect of life.
Talking to her as a nine year old feels as great as talking to her as one-eight year old, but the goodnight tenderness she gave me that night felt a little different, more conscious, more seriously meant and thus more heart breaking. I know I have many more years with her as an everyday presence in my life, but for each day that passes that time is shrinking a little and for each day that passes I fall more and more in love with her, and the stretch that this paradox offers makes me understand love from more different and wider apart angles, I find in in the melancholy of impermanence, in the inevitability of the uncontrollable and in the courage that it takes to let that love run wild even though it comes accompanied by such fragilities. As Iomi is growing up, I guess so am I.

Happy birthday my sweet beautiful rock n' roll warrior princess. I love you.



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