“BZZZZZZZZZZZ,” went my alarm clock at 3am yesterday morning, followed up by the alarm on my iPhone. Because when you have to wake up at 3am, you take all the backup you can get. Why did my alarm go off at 3am? Because The Kid was flying the coop. Spreading her wings. Leaving for a mission trip with her senior youth group for a full week. Off to South Dakota to help build some houses for the poor. This chick will be wielding a hammer, planing some wood, caulking windows perhaps. All for the good of humanity.
It will be a great experience. But this is the first time she will be this far away from home for this long without me. Well, last year she flew down south to visit my parents, but she was with family. That was different.
Sure, there are chaperones going. One being the pastor of our church who is totally cool and just loves the kids. Still. I won’t be there to remind her about stuff. You know, to put on sunscreen, drink plenty of water, wear a hat, eat her vegetables.
I won’t be there. Period. I am relinquishing control. I knew this day was coming, but I’m just not ready. What happened to my little baby? The baby who depended on me for everything?
I guess DH and I did good. She’s off for a week to do great work in a place that she’s never been. She’s going to see how people live who don’t have everything, or even anything. This will be a humbling experience for her. We are so proud. It’s pretty brave of her, going somewhere so foreign without us.
So, as DH and I are standing there saying goodbye, hugging her for dear life, I start to cry. I hear her say, “gawd mom” as I’m squeezing the life out of her. My baby is growing up. In exactly 2 years from right now, we will be getting her prepared for college. I don’t know how I’m going to do it.
So, should I turn her room into a spa or a mom cave? Ooh, I’ve always wanted my own luxurious bathroom. Decisions, decisions.
I’m always bitching about my age. How old I feel (not act, there is a difference.). How old I look. How old I am. But what really confirms all of the above is this…
When someone commented on Facebook about Nelly being in a Honey Nuts Cheerios commercial, I got so excited I almost peed my pants. Honestly, I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. “OMG! Nelly is doing a commercial?” You know who I’m talking about. The saucy little rich brat from Little House on the Prairie. Which, by the way, is one of my favorite TV shows OF ALL TIME. Just so you know, it’s still in syndication and I will tune in if I spy it with my little eye on one of the ten thousand television stations available these days.
Anyway, I was anxious to see how she looks after all these years. So, I didn’t waste any time going to Youtube and looking it up. Here it is people:
Number One: I thought Nelly was going to pop in at the last second. It took me 30.5 seconds to realize she wasn’t. And that I had the wrong “guy.”
Number Two: The correct spelling of Nelly’s name from Little House is NELLIE.
Number Three: Who the hell is this Nelly? Does he play sports? Act? Sing? I guess he’ll just get added to my list of “who the hell is that” and I’ll have to move on. Where oh where are the Robert Redfords and Debra Wingers of the world? Sigh.
I am a self diagnosed slob. It’s not just me who agrees with that diagnosis. DH thinks I should get a prize for it. So, I’m a little on the lazy side. But who doesn’t just stare at that wadded up grocery list that somehow managed to work its way into the corner of the kitchen floor every time they walk by it? It takes some serious energy bending down to that level at our age. Or any age really. Please.
My “office” space makes Oscar look like Martha Stewart (Oscar the Grouch or Oscar Madison? It could go either way.). Every time I eat, something inevitably ends up on my shirt. One of the things on my ever growing “to do” list is to buy stock in OxyClean. And my closet? That’s a whole different story. I actually haven’t really entered my closet, like really entered it, in a while. My summer clothes are kept in a drawer and so are my jeans. My closet also contains clothes that are predominately to be worn in an office setting and since I can’t find a job in an office setting, they have been hanging there pretty much collecting everything but my dry skin for years.
I decided to venture into my closet, I would say about 17 days ago, because DH and I were going to go out to dinner. It was a chilly evening and I thought a cute sweater with some jeans would be good. My closet is not nice. The Kid has a huge walk in closet. I don’t know who designed this house, but they got it wrong and it pisses me off. Really pisses me off. I have the type of closet that is about 2 feet deep by 6 feet long with bi-level doors. Is that what they are called? Bi-level? I don’t even know. But the type where when you pull on the knob, they fold in half. Hey, I never claimed to be a closet OR door aficionado so get off my back.
Well, when I opened my little bi-level doors, I was smacked in the face with a major mess. The shelf at the top is spilling over with pocketbooks I’ve had since the Bush administration. The first Bush. Lingerie that I will never, ever wear because they were my mothers (there’s a very good explanation) and shoes that have sentimental value to me. Including caked-on-dried-up-mud-on-the-heels wedding shoes from 1992.
98% of my tops are hanging from wire hangers. And anything that has not been worn since my first temp job at a now-defunct pharmaceutical company seems to have a slight layer of dust on them. Okay, so maybe a bit more than “slight.” It seems that a very wet cloth is in order. And forget about the floor. I have shoes that fell out of style when The Fanny Pack came into style. And dust bunnies that have grown into full grown rabbits. Big ass mean rabbits with fangs.
Since I was trying to get ready to go out to dinner with DH, and I’m pretty sure he was talking about going out to dinner that evening not next Tuesday, I had to pick something and get out. Quick. But there was another problem. I soon discovered that nothing fit. Nothing.
So, I need to clean out my closet. Not only because it is the pig sty from hell but because what is the point of allowing clothes that do not fit take up perfectly good real estate. I thought for sure that that would be a project I would do while recuperating from my surgery. But it turns out that I can’t stand for more than a few minutes without it feeling like a big rubber band has wrapped itself around the middle of my leg.
And anyway, I really hate projects. What will happen is I will be all enthusiastic and start tossing clothes into a heap. Then I will look at this heap and it will suddenly feel overwhelming. And then I am going to want to do everything BUT clean up that heap. Like go pour myself a glass of wine or try to run around the block with my broken knee because that pain would probably be better than the pain of cleaning up a mess that I willingly created all on my own without anyone telling me to.
Yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and start on Project Closet regardless of what my knee felt like. I pulled on the little knobs and opened the doors. I started to the right by grabbing a fistful of hangers with dresses on them. I stared at these dresses for a minute. Placed them back and closed the doors. Then cursed in my mind. Well, actually I cursed out loud but no one was there to hear me so it’s basically the same thing. Then went downstairs and watched reruns of “Grey’s Anatomy” before they killed off Dr. McSteamy. Damn. I miss that man. And maybe I’ll clean my closet tomorrow. Maybe.
Remember when we were children? There was no such thing as the video game. We had no smart phones or computers to keep us busy. What we did have was the Great Outdoors. Our mother’s favorite thing to say was, “go outside and stay outside.” I think we were only allowed to play inside of it were raining.
I remember leaving after breakfast and only coming home for lunch and dinner. Our rule was we had to come in for good when the street light’s came on. DH’s mom had a cow bell attached to the front of her house that she would ring to let her boys know it was time for lunch, dinner or bed. It was a simpler time. It was a carefree time.
When the kid was little, I remember feeling so resentful that I couldn’t let her play as I did. Why couldn’t I? When did it change? I mean, I think they had just as many perverts back then as they do now, maybe even more. My parents weren’t afraid some psycho was going to snatch us off the street.
Because I had to conform to society and because I loved my kid and was scared shitless of what the media said, I kept her in. Safe and sound. I remember if she played outside in the yard, I would pull up a chair. I mean, we would hear on the news that weirdo’s were coming into people’s yards and taking their children. Out of their own yard! That right there is some scary shit.
What are our kids going to tell their children? Probably something that sounds a bit like this: “When I was young, we would play Wii until the cows came home. And there was this really cute place called a Park and all the moms would sit on the bench and watch us like hawks while we played. I remember this one time, your grandmother had a heart attack because she lost sight of me for about 40 seconds. Haha! It was a trip. You should have seen the look on her face. We almost had to call 911 on her.”
I can totally see why we are called helicopter parents. These poor kids will not have street smarts. My kid sometimes forgets to look both ways before crossing the street because she always assumes it’s my job. I don’t think she can find her way out of a paper bag. I’m afraid when she goes off to college she’s not going to know what to do. How to navigate. We’re going to have to pin a GPS device to her jacket.
Look, I know I’m exaggerating a bit. I have dropped the kid off at the mall with some friends and she comes home unscathed. I’m learning to let go a little. Be a little less afraid. So let’s see….three years, 6 months and approximately 1 week until she leaves for college. A little more time for me to hover. Then what? Advice to give our kids who are going off to college: don’t put your drink down and travel in packs. Let’s hope they listen or I’ll be having another heart attack. Or twelve.