Maturity is…

Maturity is something that grows on a child with time. It’s a subtle thing, not something that suddenly appears. And, often, just as it appears, it may temporarily disappear now and then until, with time, you’ll see it is there more often than not, and then, I assume, all the time.

Elie is in this phase – where he’ll be surprisingly mature and then frustratingly not. Over the weekend, he drove his little sister crazy. He actually bit her – not really hurting her, just playing with her and pretending. She decided to be incredibly insulted, convinced she wouldn’t be able to write in school on Sunday because of the “damage”.

Of course, that only made Elie laugh more and take on the role of diabolical brother more seriously. His bite on the second arm, she said, was enough that she might not even be able to write on Monday when she returned from her class trip.

She was also upset that Elie used the water she had put in the refrigerator for our guests on Friday night. She needed the water, she explained, for her class trip and she simply couldn’t accept that water put in the refrigerator Saturday night would be just as cold Sunday morning as water put there on Friday.

It was a battle, throughout the Sabbath, remembering that this kid was actually a soldier, a mature adult trusted with carrying a gun. He’s respected by his soldiers and his commanding officers who call him, even at home, to check things with him. And here he is, teasing his sister and biting her.

And then, Saturday night, we took the whole family to see the house we have just purchased. It’s a beautiful house with five bedrooms and we decided to let the kids fall where they may; let them choose their rooms and see if we can get to an agreement without forcing them to the solution we already concluded made the best sense.

My youngest daughter wants to be in the room next to mine. It works that it is the smallest room, the only one without air conditioning. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms. Three sons – three rooms. I could put Elie and his middle brother in one room, but I could just as easily “bribe” them into agreeing to have their own rooms by telling them they had to be prepared to lend the room out to guests as needed.

My middle son chose the room with the balcony, as I knew he would. Elie wanted that room too, but somehow beyond the first suggestion that it be his, stepped back. My youngest son was happy with the biggest room in the back of the house, leaving Elie with the middle-sized room closest to a huge balcony (he could literally climb out the window to get to the balcony if he wanted to).

For now, it makes the most sense, to give Elie this smaller room. It’s still bigger than the room he has now, though smaller than the other rooms. For the next year, Elie will be spending less time at home than his two brothers. About the time he comes out of the army, his middle brother will go in. I don’t know if they will switch rooms at that point, but for now, this was the logical way to divide the rooms. So, for now, maturity is accepting logical solutions, even if they don’t mean you getting the biggest or the best.

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