Going Way Back

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.

*sigh*

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.

 

leaving pink behind

when she was old enough to know her colors

pink was all she loved

pink sheets, pink blanket, pink pajamas

pink everything

 

a year ago she began talking about purple,

how she pretty much thought it might be her favorite color–

it seemed more appropriate for someone one year shy

of being ten

she still loved pink

but purple came in and sat alongside

 

two days ago, I heard her say,

in what I can only describe as preteen adamance,

with regards to something her brother said,

“why did he tell me he’d get me that in–PINK?!?

doesn’t he know PURPLE is my favorite color?”

As.  If.

she has officially turned her back on pink

as though it never held a place of honor

much like other ones who have grown older and said

they never loved the purple dinosaur

though I can attest otherwise…..

but wisely don’t

 

I see her growing and leaving behind the things

of her childhood–

the miniature dolls she toted everywhere

now lie limply in the unzipped bag in the corner of her room

little Rosa, her black puppy that we could not leave home without,

I have not seen in months

hiding, I suppose, missing the little girl who named her that

because it means “pink” in Spanish

(she once loved Dora too, but we don’t talk about that anymore either)

 

she loved to dress up like princesses and could spend the day

learning and reading and playing in one of those dresses

only this year she wants to dress up like a wicked one, and I am left

pondering and remembering and intrigued–

that this sweet Princess is finding her darker side…..

 

so please, won’t you understand, that when she asked again,

just the other day,

for a lovely doll for the celebration of her first decade on earth

why my heart leapt and I am moving heaven and

earth

to find that doll and have one more day of make-believe and

tea parties

with my little girl

who isn’t quite so little anymore

before she leaves the purple behind too

 

 

 

wishing

About a week ago, my oldest daughter Aub came home from spending time with her grandmother.  She was talking about something her grandmother said to her, and she laughed, shrugged, and said, “I think I’ll always be ten in her mind.”

Oh baby girl.

Embrace it.

Isn’t it funny how when I was growing up, I so wanted to be treated like I was grown?  I wanted to make my own choices and my own decisions.  I wanted a job and a car and my own space and all that goes with those things.

And then when I got them…..

it didn’t take long for me to miss what I had before.

Like, say, when I was ten.

The older I get, the fewer people there are who still see me as a ten-year old, and even fewer who, when my name is on their lips, make me feel ten again.  There are very few who say my name as it was given to me, and who remember me as I was back then.

And that makes me sad.

So dear baby girl, don’t let it frustrate you when you know she is seeing you through the lenses of eight years ago.  Be thankful and soak it all in.  Too soon you will be my age and look back and miss her voice and how she called your name, searching the house for you, when you were one, three, eight, ten, and eighteen.  You will miss the intonations of her voice as the syllables that flowed pronounced your name as only she can.  Love on her and give thanks.  Even when she treats you like a child.

Because one day you will want to be a child again, and you’ll look around for a grownup to turn to…..and you will find out that it’s you.  You are the grownup now.  Wishing someone would see you as ten again.

Love you, ‘Dre