Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Snow White Hairs On Me

“Remember when I slept in the big bed in the room with the orange curtains and it was always light and you sang to me? I think I was 5 or maybe 3 or maybe 4 or 2 or 1. I loved that.” She curls up next to me. And I wonder about this child. Orange curtains? Not in my Design on a Dime. Always light? Perhaps, since all the stars need to be aligned right and the noises have to be set at the right level and all other variables must fall into place in order for this particular child to fall asleep. Singing to her I buy—or, rather, what I call “singing” which is actually in the CIA memo on acceptable torture. The whole age thing has me worried, though. Is she talking about a past life I don’t remember? She does this a lot, this 3 year old. She says, “When I was 7, I liked to play baseball, but now I’m a girl and I don’t.”
I’ve been telling people my age recently. Not that I’ve ever hidden it, but most mothers with children the ages of my children tend to be, um, generationally challenged. They don’t remember Bonanza or Buck Rogers, but they do remember Jem and the Holograms. In other words, when I tell them my natural hair color is “grey with brown highlights”, they seem shocked. It’s easy to shock people who have barely left puberty.
The conversation has been coming up because of this fourth baby I’m considering giving birth to. (Strunk and White would be appalled by that sentence.) “Are you going to have more?” they ask. “Well, I’ll be 37 when this baby is born. That may be it for us,” I answer. And then I watch their faces try to compose themselves around blustered embarrassements like, “Oh, I never would have guessed! You’re that old? I mean, that’s not old, but I would have thought you were a lot younger.” I’m going to start bringing popcorn to the playdates because I quite enjoy the reactions. They almost always follow up the initial spluttering with something like, “Oh, I have a (friend, relative, woman in the Bible) who was much older when she had her first child. She was like 40 or something.” Yah, so much older.
I actually don’t mind not being young. It’s comforting to know that the teenage boys are not, in fact, looking at my vericose veins. The teenage girls are, but I think I’ll tatoo “Dangers of Pregnancy” right above them and call it a public service announcement. I like having a mortgage, a car, and a hobby. Have you ever noticed that young people don’t have “hobbies?” You have to hit a certain “joie de la mort” stage before you can have a hobby. I like hobbying. It reminds me that I will never be the best but I can be good enough and that I don’t have to earn money doing it. It means I can stop at any time without changing my identity: it’s just a hobby, not a definition.
I love that age is so fluid for the currently-3-year-old. She believes she has been a grownup (which might be why she wins so many arguments with me) and that she was, yesterday, only 1. And maybe I’ll sew those orange curtains for her before she’s 5. We can call her ‘prophetic’ and create memories after they’ve happened.


Megan said...

So I was going to comment on this blog and tell you have you have so much energy for someone your age and I would love to have that kind of energy. I can barely make it out of bed in the morning but I'm great at getting in it at night and during the day. But I thought maybe I shouldn't comment about someone's age it's a touchy subject, so we will forget the whole thing ever happened.

Irish Cream said...

I'm feeling ya-

When I get together for playdates with moms who have kids my daughters' ages, I'm always feeling like I need to whip out the cane and depends- that I'm that much older than they are. Most of the time it doesn't bother me, until I realize that I actually have near decades extra experience.

Maybe living in an area surrounded by graduate students and medical residents makes it more likely I'll be surrounded by younger moms. Hey, keeps me young, right?

Oh, and I love the public service announcement. That's brilliant! Maybe I'll sport the bikini and have that tatooed on my belly just above the stretch marks and the c-section scar... :)

BlueSkiesBreaking said...

If I ever get married and have children, I'll know who to look up to. lol ;o)

poopy2poo said...

So,I'm 18, my dad is 60, my mom is 58, and my best friends mother just turned 42.