Gone and Gone

Remember the movie, “Cocoon” with Wilford Brimley and Jessica Tandy where they think they discover the fountain of youth in a swimming pool?

These days I feel like I can relate.

I was flipping through a college pamphlet that came in the mail for my son. Inside, young people surrounded by brick buildings and trees turning yellow in autumn were walking happily to class. They looked ready for what life awaits them around the corner.

As I made my way through the campus of my future school (less than three weeks, but who’s counting?!) I came across a dining room filled with what looked like high school cheerleading squads. I remember being a cheerleader in high school and attending USC and Pepperdine University with my squads and thinking how much fun it was to stay the week in dorms. And I watched as these young cheerleaders cried in the hallway on their phones…and boy do I remember THOSE days too. One word: Drama.

Yesterday I went into Walgreens for a few things after getting my haircut. The salesperson checking me out asked, gingerly, if I had any discounts. “Huh?” I responded. “You know, like AARP.” She says.

Oh.

“No.”

Her response: “Well, um, do you qualify for AARP because if you do I can still give you a discount.”

Fuck the discount.

I ask her, “What age do you have to be to get an AARP card?”

“Fifty-Five, I think.” Is her reply.

Fuck. Fuck. And Shit.

I kindly tell her I am many, more than a few several (SEVERAL!!) years away from a stupid AARP card.

A few days ago I am on PinCrackTrest and I stumble onto site after site of mommy ideas. Fun things to do with toddlers. How to get your kids to bed at a decent hour. Cute classroom ideas for kindergarten. Fun kids lunch ideas. Mommy support groups. Images of young mommy’s walking with their strollers.

And I realized I am no longer that mom to really young kids anymore.

I’ve got two teenagers and one twenty year old.

Dammit.

Why does it feel sometimes that youth is just – gone in a split second? Wasn’t I just that cheerleader trying to make my squad get along despite 16 year-old drama? Wasn’t I just that mom of a kindergartener, a toddler, and a newborn struggling with clever ideas for potty training and creating ant logs out of raisins and celery?

I feel sometimes like I am stuck in the middle somewhere. Not a young adult heading to college anymore and not a young mother of young children anymore.

And I think back to that fountain of youth and you bet your sweet ass I would jump right in and splash until I could be young again…

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Back To School – Again

In just over 6 weeks I will be going back to school. (Again.)

And I’m scared shitless.

Will I be able to keep up? Do I remember how to take notes? What kind of backpack should I get? Do I remember how to study or write papers? Do students use laptops to take notes or do they still use quill and bottles of ink like they did the first time I went to college? How will I stay awake during the dead space in my schedule right in the middle of my normally sit-on-the-couch-read-and-nap time between oh let’s say 2ish and 3ish? Will I look like a geek on the first day of school trying to find my classes? What if I’m called on? (They don’t do that, do they? Nah, I should be fine.)

And – why the hell didn’t I just sign up for online classes?!? Dammit to hell and my idea that I wanted to actually BE in a classroom with a real live professor. Blah blah blah.

My husband says I’ll be just fine. My family and friends tell me it will be okay and I’ll do great and it’s all like riding a bike – except I haven’t been on a bike since I was a pony-tail-wearing-brace-face-tween. Oh Gawd, what have I done?

I’m taking a language because that and an English Literature class were the only two outside my major of history that I apparently didn’t satisfy when I was getting my first bachelor’s degree. Anyway – a language. I am horrible with languages. Some people have an ear and I don’t. I took seven years of Spanish. I attempted many years of Spanish. Attempted. The highest grade I ever got was a ‘C’ and I skipped for joy at the end of it. But, for some reason unbeknownst to me that class didn’t transfer or I only took a semester when I need a year. (What.Ever.)

Anyway.

I’m taking American Sign Language. All summer I have checked out DVDs from the library to prepare me for sign language. I’m not 100% certain I will have the “ear” for ASL either but it was really my only hope in life to pass a language requirement.

I have an English Literature class and two history courses this semester: U.S. History (Hi, basic-ole-history) and something they call The Study of History – which I am very excited about.

Yes, four classes.

Because I’m a nut job.

And because I want this second bachelor’s finished as quickly as possible so I can move onto/into grad school. If I don’t fail anything (as the History Chair kindly informed me) I should be finished with this degree by the end of next year. I have fifteen classes to take and after ASL and English Literature all the classes will be upper level history.

Hours and hours of history. Ah, bliss…..

As long as I can get past looking like a granny on her first day of school carrying a David Cassidy backpack with matching lunchbox.

Now I am off to order some of my books online from Amazon (golly gee, you can do that now!) so I can start reading them ahead of time. I’m old, aren’t I?

Not From Here

I hail from the Los Angeles area. And every year on New Year’s Day we would sit in horror as the secret of our lives were broadcasted across the country via the Rose Parade – which was a mere two miles from my house and when the Rose Bowl game played later that day the blimp could be seen out our windows.

Without fail New Year’s Day would be a mild 70-degree something, the skies would be a bright cobalt blue without a single cloud, and the sun would be gloriously shining. Ahhhhh, January in southern California.

But then.

Everyone would notice our blue skies and sunshine on the first of January as they peek out their own windows at a cold, snowy, grey abyss and think…hmmm…maybe we should move to southern California…

Hence, our melting pot.

Truth be told, we were used to people flocking to the area. It was no different when we were in San Diego – same thing happened. Flocks. Of. Seagulls. People. (Sorry, my 80s came out there for a second.)

People came to southern California for a different life. Something better than what they thought they had. They craved sunshine year-round. They craved traffic. (No, that can’t be right.) They craved those cobalt blue skies they saw during the Rose Parade and couldn’t believe a place like that existed in January – as they shoveled five feet of snow off their driveway and froze their asses off on their way to work.

And people moved OUT of California for the same reason: they wanted a different life. Less traffic. Less people. Less crime. Less sunshine – yes, it’s true – but we like to say, “I wanted a place with four seasons”. They wanted a better place to raise a family. They wanted a slower pace of life. They wanted to live somewhere where their dollar went a little further and a place where you could actually breathe without your neighbors listening.

There were many reasons we left southern California. High cost, too many people, too much traffic, and we lived in what I referred to as a fish bowl. We wanted out of the rising cost of living in San Diego with its one season and growing crime rates.

Somehow the people of Idaho didn’t get the memo about people moving into their town. They don’t have a yearly Rose Parade watched across the country. They are therefore confused as to why people would move here. No, not confused. Pissed off. They don’t want people to move here. And they especially don’t want people from California to move here.

Without fail there are comments on Facebook whenever there is talk of increased crime or a traffic accident or road construction or houses being built in new subdivisions – “you people need to go back where you came from.” “Go back to California.” “Californians need to stop moving here!” “This was such a great place to live until all the Californians moved here!” I’m surprised we aren’t blamed for the cold winter and Boise State football losing against Ole Miss.

I want to shake them and tell them it is just the facts of life. People move around. People go places where they feel they can get a better life. Instead of being bitter, pissed, and angry at us Californians for “ruining their small town” they should feel happy and proud that we would all move away from a place where the sun shines 350 days a year to their little corner of the world – where the sun, well, doesn’t shine 350 days a year.

For such a quaint, friendly, small town when we first moved here ten years ago – I now see nothing but bitter and cranky people who despise anyone who isn’t born here.

Maybe Boise needs a parade.

…In the fall when it is gorgeous around here. On second thought, never mind.