Last week, Little Man and I attended one of three 9th grade orientations for the upcoming school year. We were early to the orientation, so we sat on the bleachers of the gym and watched the other kids, parents, students, and staff file in and get ready for the presentations. Young boys acting all aloof and nodding to those they recognized, young girls practically having an aneurism when they recognized someone and dragging their moms to sit as close as possible to their friends, older moms overdoing it with too much plastic surgery and too much bling, greying men in their dad jeans and button up dress shirts…and me – too old to relate to the high schoolers and not really thinking I could relate to any of the parents. It was an awkward feeling. Then the principal welcomed the Class of 2017. My son is graduating 20 years after I did. 20 years? Really?
Don’t think I hadn’t thought about that fact before, because I had. It’s just…here now. Within reach.
I loved high school. I was definitely not the most popular, but I wasn’t a complete outcast either. Those years were some of the best I’ve had. I would go back and live it over again in a heart beat. Granted, I would probably want to know what I know now and make some better decisions…and I would want to be able to come back to my life as it exists now. Maybe be more successful. Definitely with more money. I’m picky that way.
In a little over three months, I will be the mother of a high school student. You have no idea how insane this is to me. I’m not old enough or mature enough for this, you guys. At least, I don’t feel old enough or mature enough when I look in the mirror. It truly feels to me like hardly any time has passed since my senior year. I am 33 years old, have birthed 3 children, am married, pay bills, have been through some traumatic shit in my time…and I feel like I just graduated yesterday. Now, I’ve got a kid who is about to embark on a journey he could look back on with complete joy or total disdain.
My goal is to make these next few years shine for him. Or, rather, to help him make these years shine. Me doing it for him would be borderline “mom reliving high school vicariously through her child” territory. Judging from some of those moms at the orientation, there are enough of those to go around. I don’t need to be one, too. No matter how much I loved high school. No, thank you.
Maybe it’s a good thing, then, that I still see my younger self looking at me in the mirror. All those other moms probably see themselves as the aging hags they are (and they were truly scary looking hags) and need to surround themselves with their teenagers and their teenager’s friends to feel young again.
I am actually young. I don’t even have grey hair yet. I do own some mom jeans, but we won’t get into that.
What makes us feel younger than we are? Is it attitude? Slow aging? Am I just psychotic? Feel free to answer these questions and more.