There are certain occasions when we are slapped right in the face with the fact that we're just not as young as we used to be.
Sometimes those moments sneak up on us when we least expect it and we're faced with the harsh realization that no matter how much we try to deny it, no matter how hard we're trying to fight Father Time, we're right smack dab in the middle of our lives and there's no turning back.
Remember how you cringed the first time you were called Ma'am or Sir, or when some young fast food worker gave you the senior citizen discount when you didn't ask for it? C'mon, do I really look like a senior citizen to a 16 year old? Wow. Anyway, there are some things that make us realize we're not spring chickens anymore.
1. Try doing a cartwheel.
Sometimes you have this sudden burst of energy and decide you're going to just go for it. Stop. Please. Unless you've been seriously staying in shape, one cartwheel could do a lot of damage. Trust me, I know. For the next few days I was sore in places I'd long forgotten about. On the plus side, nothing reminds you that you should be hitting the gym like mid-life gymnastics.
2. Watch some of your teen's favorite YouTube channels.
I'll admit, some of it is funny and mildly interesting but most of the time I'm just sitting there in horror or totally confused. No wonder my kids are so strange. Where do they come up with this stuff? It's like Jackass meets Dennis the Menace on crack. And the music! Screamo? Dubstep? One sounds like you've unleashed all the demons from hell and the other sounds like a robot having sex with a toaster in the washing machine. Ummm, yeah.
3. Pull an all-nighter.
Long gone are the days when we could party all night, get up the next morning and start all over again. It takes me almost 3 hours to function in the morning as it is. You may as well shoot me. I think I'm still recovering from my most recent all-nighter... from last year.
4. Play musical video games like Rockband or Guitar Hero.
My seven year old breezes through this stuff like he was born playing the game. I, on the other hand, get booed right off the stage. Yes, it's pathetic. My lifelong dream of being a rock star is fading fast. Guess I can donate my tiger-stripe spandex pants to Goodwill now.
5. Go to the store and buy beer and cigarettes.
It doesn't matter if you don't smoke or drink, buy the stuff anyway and see if they card you. They probably won't. The first time I didn't get carded I made the mistake of asking why. The young, pretty cashier with a glowing clear complexion and radiant blonde hair said to me, "Because you remind me of my mom". Okay, okay, so I am old enough to be her mom but still, damn. At least she didn't say Grandma.
6. Tune in to the oldies station on the radio.
Take a good listen. They're playing all your favorite songs from your childhood, teen years, and early adulthood. No kidding. How did this happen? I know it's hard to think of Paula Abdul's songs as oldies, but I'm telling you they are. Straight Up!
Though getting older can sometimes be distressing, it has its benefits. I mean, most of us are a lot more secure with who we are than we were 20 years ago. Hopefully, we're a lot wiser than we once were too. All in all, we're in a pretty good place in life right now and we have a lot to look forward to, including legit senior discounts and there's always Social Security (we hope).
1. We are never taking you in that store again.
You know the deal - you're in the store and your kid is acting like someone injected pure caffeine into their veins. They're bouncing off the walls, hiding under racks, touching everything within reach... They whine, complain, laugh too loud, pretend aisle 6 is a zombie zone and proceed to use the packs of toilet paper to build a fort. You're really trying to keep your cool so no one is forced to call CPS, but by the time you make it to the vehicle you just can't hold it back anymore and out comes the "We are never taking you in that store again!". Yeppers! We're all guilty of this one. Too bad this lie isn't true.
2. You're grounded forever.
Your child is being annoying and trying to test your patience. They love seeing how far they can push you because there's a part of each of them that's a little sick and twisted. They sometimes even gang up on you and see how long it takes before you snap. Maybe they decide today will be a good day to make pancakes on the carpet, or perhaps shave the cat. No matter the transgression, they push and push and push and that famous line "you're grounded forever" is shouted and inside they're laughing because they know you're full of it.
3. That's it, I'm moving out.
There are days when every parent has just had it. I mean flat out had it. You've kept them from killing each other and burning down the house more times than you can count. You've found all of your new make-up completely destroyed and the walls look like a magical rainbow unicorn projectile vomited all over them. Whatever they've done, they've brought you to the edge and you scream, "That's it! I'm moving out!". No you're not. You're not going anywhere (except possibly crazy) and they know it.
You see, our children are a lot smarter than we give them credit. They know when we're lying and they love to call our bluff. I truly believe they have secret meetings where they share hints and tips on making their parents insane. Yeah, that's it! There's a secret alliance of little kids whose sole purpose is to bring down the parents so they can take over the world. And you know the worst part? We're outnumbered!
1. Why didn't someone tell me it was going to be THIS hard?
Okay, so I understood it wasn't going to be the easiest thing I'd ever do in life but why the hell didn't someone tell me it was going to be so difficult? Maybe they tried and I wouldn't listen. Nah. I would remember if someone had told me I'd have to sometimes make 3 different meals for dinner so my whole family would eat. I would remember if someone told me I'd spend hours scraping 3 different kinds of gum off the sofa cushions. I would remember if someone had told me I'd have to stick my freaking hands into the toilet to fish out two rolls of toilet paper, countless band-aids, and 3 toothbrushes. Yeah, I'd remember those sorta things.
2. Why do young boys hump everything?
I'm sure not all boys do this, but all of mine have. I never thought I'd have to tell my son to stop humping the sofa, the sliding board, the shopping cart, and the neighbor's cat all in the same day. What are they trying to do when they do this anyway? It's a shame when you're afraid to invite company over because you don't want them to be molested by your hump happy child. It's one thing when the dog does it, we know why he does it, but when your child wants to rub his birdy (yes, I called it a birdy) all over God's creation it gets a little awkward.
3. Why haven't I reached my breaking point and snapped like a mouse's neck in a cat's mouth?
How am I still surviving this? Where do I find all the strength to continue day after day after day? After being talked back to, mentally tortured, puked on, crapped on, and nearly every other disgusting thing imaginable under the sun, how is it that I still function? I wonder sometimes if they've brainwashed me into believing some of their antics are normal. These things aren't normal, are they? Is the capacity to love a human being that you brought into this world so great that you can tolerate nearly anything?
I like to think that as crazy as they make me and as close as they bring me to my breaking point, they also fill my heart with the kind of love that's unbreakable and unconditional. Even on my worst day I wouldn't want to be without these little pains in the ass.
Maybe I do understand parenting a little more than I realized.