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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Teenagers Over Toddlers

I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach at the realization that my babies suddenly (like overnight!) seem totally grown up. I wrote down their ages the other day (19, 16, 13, & 10) and I sorta wanted to barf. Everyone's in double digits and pretty soon I'm gonna have a twenty-something?!? WT%? Now, don't get me wrong. I love teenagers. I LOVE them. In all of their pimply, first kissing, driving-themselves-to-school, going-to-parties, awkward, gangly, glory; I love them. I always say that I will totally take a teenager over a toddler, and I mean it. But I think my heartache today is coming from the realization that I've missed my window of opportunity to do some specific activities with them. Like taking them to Bonfante Gardens (is it still even called that?). I've been meaning to do that for several years now, but, alas, it's too late. They don't want to go and play in the splash zone! And just the other day we were all talking about when our next Disneyland trip might be and 3 out of the 4 (4 out of 5, if you count Dave) totally gave Disneyland the "hard pass". Thankfully, Evie still wants to go with me. But, seriously! How did that happen? And when? 
I must be hitting a transition time in life. I've been here before and I struggle with transition sometimes. I think what has happened (although I hardly noticed it happening) is that all my babes have graduated out of "kid-hood" and into some level of "teenage-hood". I remember when they graduated from "baby-hood" (with very little pomp and circumstance and absolutely no raise for me, btw) and suddenly I had no babies! Everyone was solidly in "kid-hood". I remember the very day it happened. Soli must have been about 4 or 5, and I looked out my front window and noticed one of those irritatingly adorable groups of darling young moms and babes across the street at the park with their Lulu Lemon jogging pants and their jogging strollers. You remember the ones? Anyway, I thought to myself, "That looks fun! I've been meaning to join one of those. I'm sure they're not as irritating once you get to know them. Good thing I didn't let Dave get rid of my jogging stroller last year! I'm so smart." But then I realized that I had absolutely no baby to go in my jogging stroller. I had had a baby for so many years at that point that it hadn't dawned on me that one day I would wake up, and I wouldn't have one. And there would be no more "Mommy and Me" playgroups for me in this lifetime! Shocking. Uttering shocking to my sensibilities. For 15 years and the entirety of my adult life, my world had revolved around Mommy and Me and suddenly it was over. Just like that! And I was not invited back in the club. Where was my certificate of completion? Or my cash prize? Or a medal or a standing ovation or something? And I feel like I am hitting another one of those milestone transitions - where suddenly no one wants to play with the play kitchen or the American Girl dolls; no one is bringing me "tea" in the little pink tea set for me to pretend to drink; and the Star Wars action figures are covered in a fine layer of dust. Oh my aching heart. How did it happen? 
I do know from experience that the closing of one chapter leads to the opening of another (hear me trying to convince myself?). And although the next chapter of parenting teenagers and young adults may not involve a trip to Bonfante or little pink tea sets (or a raise), it will bring tons and tons of goodness, as long as I let it. For example, Cole may not want to go with me to Disneyland, but he did say yes to my invitation to go on a hike the other day, just the two of us. And although Emerson no longer plays with Star Wars action figures, a mini light saber dangles from his key chain as he drives to meet me for lunch, which he loves to do. Evie still loves to hang out with me so long as we're going to the mall or the beach or Starbucks. I can live with that. And my baby girl, Soleil, may not pretend to take my vitals or my medical history anymore (she used to love to play nurse), but she told me just last night that I should download "Tree World" so we can play together. I'm totally down. 
And, dusty as they may be, I'm saving the Star Wars Actions Figures for my grandkids. Amen.
P.S. Even if they let me back in the club, I would never go back. Forty something moms are smarter, sexier and generally more bad ass than we ever were in our twenties. They can keep their Lulu Lemons. High Five, Ladies.

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