Last week I was sitting in a 2nd grade school performance listening to 100 seven and eight year olds jamming to the oldies like “We Got the Beat” by the Go-Go’s (yes, the 80s somehow became the “oldies” to our kids!) and thought to myself, “How the hell did I get here?!”
Now, I wasn’t confused on how I physically got to that white folding chair in the cold gym of my kids’ grade school but how did I get to the place in life that I am at? I looked around to see a whole room of people that reminded me of my mom.
“I’m not this old,” I told myself. “I can’t be.
I immediately flashed back to a photo of my mom in her 30s standing in an adult soccer uniform holding a ball on her hip, posed just like you would see a 5-year-old posing on team picture day. Yet, when I remembered this photo, it wasn’t her mocking little kids in a type of soccer mom parody, but her version of a selfie today taken by her 10 year old. At least I think I was 10. She had just lost a bunch of weight and was very proud of her new skinnier figure and this was her I-just-lost-weight selfie. Not that she was going to share it with anyone but just paste it in the family photo album because this was clearly decades before the social media craze and the selfie obsession with documenting our every outfit, meal and move. This was just her documentation of her success.
It was all pretty normal at the time but when I think back to that photo, I remember thinking that my mom was old. Like mom-old, not grandma-old, but definitely not young and hip. She was sporting the mom haircut and wore her pants a little too high, but she was mom. Totally normal. Old, and well, mom.
As I’m sitting in that gymnasium, I start to zone out of the 8 year old rendition of We Got the Beat and continue looking around.
“Am I really THIS old?”
I am probably older than my mom was in that photo yet I feel like I’m years behind these fellow gym parents. Maybe the second grade class just has a high percentage of “older parents”? I’m sitting in a room crowded with versions of my mom. Not me. My mom. They have hair starting to grey, mom capris, loose button down shirts to hide the extra weight and giant purses that are probably stuffed with things like wipes, snacks and emergency suckers for the next meltdown.
That’s not me at all. I’m still that girl who got carded in Vegas years after turning 21, right? As I looked down at my capris, floral dress shirt and over-sized purse, remembering that I just had my silver roots dyed at my routine hair appointment, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
“I am them. But how?!”
Is there some type of denial that I’m in that I feel years beyond my age yet find myself blending in with the crowd in the gym? I don’t feel like I’m blending in inside but clearly no one is staring at me wondering what the teen mom is doing there. Not that I look like a teen mom but I certainly couldn’t look like one of them, right?!
It’s the same feeling I get when I’m driving carpool for my daughter and her friends. How am I the mom?! I’ve pretty much turned into my mom and am in complete denial about it. I sit in the car listening to my 10 year old’s friends and think, “What the hell happened?” How do I have a 10 year old daughter and I’m the mom driving carpool? Where did the last 10 (and 20!) years go? It was just yesterday that I was in Hollywood living the no-kid life, right? How did I get in this “minivan world” overnight?
Everyone told me not to blink on my wedding day because as quickly as it started, the day would be over.
Then everyone told me not to blink when I had my babies because one day they will be babbling in their bassinet and the next day they will be headed off to college.
What is it with the blinking?
Did I blink and become my mom? When? When did all this craziness happen?
Sure, I find things coming out of my mouth that sound identical to my mom such as “Because I said so!” and “Just wait until we walk out of this store” or “If you don’t pick up your toys, I’m throwing them all away!” and things like that, but that is just a coincidence, right? I didn’t become my mother overnight by blinking, did I
The school performance finished up and I found myself drifting through the gym in a sort of out of body experience wondering how I got there? The rest of the night, I found myself checking the mirror a little too often to see if I could see what happened. Sure, there are a few wrinkles here and there and my hair needs to be dyed often, but I can’t be that mom.
I thought this crisis would come after having my first baby and the realization would set in but clearly I’m 10 years late. Or maybe this is my own personal mid-life crisis? Maybe that is what they meant when people go through that? But wait…that is what OLD people do!!
Dammit. Maybe it is time to get that fancy sports car? That’s what people “my age” do, right?!