Sometimes when I’m alone in my car, driving with the radio loud, I forget how old I am.
Depending on what song is playing, I’m 12 and loving rainy nights, or I’m 16 and quite enthralled with Mickey–who is, by the way, fine, or I’m 19 and assuring the world it’s my prerogative, or I’m 24 and looking at the man in the mirror, asking him, I mean her, to make a change. I’m never the age I am currently by the way. Just not.
Today was one of those rare days where I had time in the car all by myself. I was traveling up to see my oldest, Aub, at her college and my alma mater. I had the opportunity to share with parents of prospective students why I loved it for me and why I love it for her. It is home for us both.
So my heart was light as I turned the radio on, free of concerns about who might be hearing what from the backseat. I turned it up and sang at the top of my lungs. Now that I am a girl of a *ahem* certain age, I no longer care what folks driving next to me might think. No worries.
It was a wonderful trip, alternating between songs from the 80’s (my high school and college years) and country music, which I have always loved. Each song took me back to a specific point and story in my life.
By the time I got to campus, pulling in without thinking as I have done so many times over the years, I was exhausted. Time travel will do that. I was also a bit dazed and confused.
Because when I put the car in park, I was yanked back to the present. I wasn’t parking on campus, coming “home” after going to the house to do laundry or eat home cooked food. It took me a second to come back to the here and now.
How could I feel so close to who I was at nineteen when my very own nineteen year old child was sitting in MY Economics classroom telling future students what it’s like to be a Wesleyanne?
Just yesterday, I was the one sitting there. Comfortable in my own skin, in my place at the college of my choice. Talking with others, and planning the rest of my day out in my mind–paper to write, exam to study for, friends to meet up with for supper. Maybe a trip to Denny’s for nachos and cheesesticks…..
In the jolt of my time machine landing, I came back to reality, where the lists in my mind included what to cook for supper, who needs what laundry done by tomorrow, and thinking about starting my Christmas list.
How can I be so far from nineteen and still sit with my nineteen year old self and remember and listen to her woes all over again? Even knowing how it all eventually turns out, I want to weep with her, laugh at her jokes, and listen to every last thought she has.
This parenting thing can blow my mind at times. That I, the nineteen year old in a way older person’s body, am a parent–what is that?
When I watched my girl speaking today, so poised and confident, growing into her own person more each day, I caught a glimpse of myself. Of the person I was and what I thought back then. I remembered things she knows nothing about that make us more alike than different, and I wondered–
does she ever catch a glimpse of me when she looks in the mirror?
Tonight I’m thankful for chances to go home again and that I feel welcomed when I’m there. Chances to reminisce and laugh about our lives and stories from way back when are priceless. For trees that haven’t changed and for buildings that have, I give thanks. I am glad I had a chance to hop on that time machine and remember and dance with the girl I once was.
Turns out she’s full of life and laughter and dances way better than she ever thought she did. Because she dances with a heart of joy and wonder, with her whole life ahead of her…..
may it be so for all of us.
Wishing you all a tune with a good beat you can dance to. And a story that takes you back to something good, so you can dance with your heart and your feet.
Love to all.