Last night I went to a high school homecoming parade and pep rally. Now remember, y’all, I am from Texas. We love our football. So, a Homecoming parade and pep rally is for the entire part of town that feeds into that particular high school. Everyone gets into the spirit. Old. Young. Adults. Teens. Elementary. College. It is for everyone. So you can imagine the energy that reverberated around that gymnasium. All at once I was 17 again and loving the beat of the band, the screams of the student body and the energy of the football team. Yet looking around me I felt completely ancient. As in “In my day I walked to school in the snow uphill both ways” ancient. (Yes, as a matter of fact I did grow up in Texas and that shall not diminish the accuracy of the claim I make.)
As I sat on the floor of the gym (my knees and butt have reminded me that I am too old for that) looking around at the high school kids, I suddenly realized sometime between my senior year in high school and waking up yesterday morning, I became old. Not old as in “Who is that crazy old lady in the back of the bus screaming about some old cheese smell?” but old as in “I am not a kid anymore.”
In fact, I am so far removed from those kids, I could have been their mother. (Please pause while I gnash my teeth and weep for a moment as I realize I have become my mother or your mother or any mother who was looking at those kids and thinking “Gawd, I became–of all things— a parent– at some point when my youth wasn’t looking.“) I will admit that I did enjoy myself and have fun in the moment. And? I enjoyed remembering how much fun it was in high school at my own school pep rallies. And when I looked as young and fit and young as those kids look. (Seriously, though? When did things head south and for that matter, hips and butt head east and west? And was that really necessary, Ms. Metabolism and Mr. Age? So wrong!)
But as I watched the fun unfold I thought “It hasn’t been that long since I was one of them.” And then after I got home, it happened. I got a notice in my email about my 20 year high school reunion. TWENTY years? Oh, I don’t think so. There is no way. I did the math. Yes, way.
As I looked at my kids and the fun they were having. I watched my 6 year old as her eyes lit up every time the cheerleaders performed. (For that matter, every time they looked at her and waved.) I saw her future and the fun she will have. Then I watched my preteen as he realized he is so close to being a part of all of that action. Suddenly, it didn’t feel so wrong to be old enough to have kids that are looking at this in their future. (The very near future in some cases.) Because? I would never go back to high school if you paid me. Sure, many of my very best friends to this day are people I met in high school. They know me better than anyone in the world. (My husband included. Remember, he is my high school sweetheart.) I will admit, there is something to having people in your life who knew you then and know you know and yet…still love you. But going back and living in that time again?
You couldn’t pay me enough.
But it was fun! And it was a nice trip down memory lane. But I prefer to stay here in Momville where I am the parent of the teens who have to go through all of the High School Drama that is the teen years and not one of the young kids who think that those are the best years of their life. Because? Now? Where I am now? These are the best years of my life.