It was their bedtime and I went to their room to tuck my 8 and 12 year old daughters in and kiss them good-night on Saturday evening, while Tim logged into the computer for his work-at-home night job. I only intended to stay a minute in the girls room but I ended up talking with them for a while. Things got a little silly as girl talk sometimes does and, though I can’t quite remember why exactly, I was inspired to pull my high school yearbooks out from under my bed. When I was a kid, I always loved flipping through my parents' old yearbooks and laughing over the strange hair styles, old fashioned outfits, and especially the funny way my parents looked in their black and white school pictures. So young and so different. So, my “big” girls and I sat on the floor of their bedroom and together we looked at one of my yearbooks.
They could not believe the “big hair” we all sported back then or the funny eyeglasses people wore (they should see the horn-rimmed glasses from my parents era if they want to see funny looking glasses!) They were kind and insisted I did not look funny or strange but they could not believe how different their uncle, my sister’s high school sweetheart, looked all those years ago. Or that he had once sang and danced in our school’s “Pure Gold” jazz choir.
My little walk down memory lane with my daughter was, in our silly state of mind, a ton of fun and bedtime was postponed for a very long time. But, eventually, despite the lingering giggles, I tucked them for a second time and bid them good night.
Of course, my night was not over yet. I still had to clean up the rest of the mess from dinner and prepare for the upcoming Memorial Day pool party we are going to on Monday. I weighed my options. I had just gotten a few new swimsuits and needed to choose which one to wear at the party, but the table still needed to be wiped off, the sink was full of dishes, and the baby’s high chair tray was a smeary mess. I figured the untidy kitchen would wait though, and I might as well try on the new suits while Tim was working, the kids were all in bed, and I could have my privacy. What I was thinking trying on bathing suits after looking at my high school yearbooks, I don’t know. I went from my memories of being skinny, young, and cute to looking at my mid-thirties-mother-of-5 self in a swim suit and, well…. fast forwarding 18 years and 15+ pounds in a matter of minutes can really be quite a depressing shock! I should have just cleaned up my kitchen.
I tend to dwell on things and think about things way too much. So for a little while, as I finished up my nightly routines and sat down to pray before bed I found myself wondering how I had gone from there (young and cute and skinny) to here (older and not nearly so cute or skinny) so quickly. I missed my young, cute self and wished I could go back and appreciate it all more. I tried pushing my thoughts aside so I could pray, as I always do before bed, but my mind kept returning to those old pictures of me, before my current life of changing diapers, grocery shopping and driving a mini-van. I struggled to clear my mind but instead I kept agonizing over the loss of my youth, my cute-ness and skinny-ness. But then, looking over again at the yearbook on my dresser, I remembered the rest of my high school experience. The insecurities, the desire to fit in and the feeling that I never quite did, the fears over my future, the worries about which of the young men I was interested in liked me back(or rather didn’t like me back). I thought about it all and realized that really I am much happier today, living my mid-thirties-mother-of -5 life, with my messy kitchen and my Saturday nights spent giggling with my daughters, my mini-van parked out in the driveway, knowing that here and now, I am completely loved and accepted just the way I am.