I will be 32-years-old at the end of the summer. Some friends will say this is terribly young, and I know they are right. But sometimes I am caught off guard by the grey hair that is becoming more common in my tresses or an exchange with a younger adult that reveals I am no longer a college girl. For example, when my husband and I took our son to see Dan Zanes at a local university, I fell into a conversation after the show with a college sophomore. I told her I’d visited the university when I was in high school and briefly considered attending the school. “But that was a long time ago,” I added. “Yeah,” she said, nodding. YEAH?! I told the husband all about this remark still genuinely stunned to hear that I clearly did not look like I was close to this girl’s age (forget the fact that I was at a family concert at 11:00 on a Saturday morning for hundreds of preschoolers and their families!) He laughed and replied, “She probably thought you were in your 30s!” Hmph.
Another concert, this time for just the adults of the house, was a couple of weeks ago. The darling dear surprised me with tickets to see the Indigo Girls as a Mother’s Day treat (not exactly Lady GaGa or some hot new band), and the stars aligned in such a way that we actually had a baby-sitter and got out of the house for an evening. The opening act, however, was some young guy with quite a following of young girls, probably sophomores in college. They knew all the songs by heart, screamed when he made his little singer-man faces, laughed at all his jokes. But I complained that it was too loud while my beloved scrolled through updates on his BlackBerry. Hmph. (The Indigo Girls were fantastic, though.)
By becoming a mother, my understanding of my parents has changed. I realize all of those good things like how deeply they have always loved me, how imperfect the art of parenting is, how tired my incessant chatter must have made them. But I also wish I could freeze time in some way so that we could shrink the age distance between us. I am not ready to accept that my aging means their aging, too. Having children means I have been pushed into a next stage of adulthood, and I still don’t have my head wrapped around that fact. I’m not so much a “young adult” now as I am just an adult. Hmph.
Aside from my two little ones, there are some little things in daily life that heighten my age awareness, and I laugh whenever I notice them. It’s been happening so often lately that I started running a little list in my head. For whatever reason, these things spontaneously and unintentionally remind me that I’m a grown-up; I am smack-dab in the middle of a life that I once dreamt about.
Minced garlic in a jar.
Walking around the backyard in the early morning, coffee in hand, peeking in the garden to survey new squash and tomatoes.
Dead-heading flowers, watering ferns, and sweeping the front steps.
Folding my husband’s bazillion white undershirts.
Paying the baby-sitter.
Dry-cleaning still hanging in the bag.
A glass of white wine on a warm day.
The comforting sounds of public radio. (Similarly: the familar voices of Lehrer, Brooks, and Shields.)
Our electric lawn mower.