Photo: A back yard that meant so much to me. Much playing of tag and blowing bubbles and such in this space. My grandfather took a lot of pride in the plantings, with tomatoes to nosh and roses blooming in the summer. He mowed it, he weeded it, he loved it. It’s hard to see the space overgrown, neglected as it is. Time is uncaring and cruel, marching on at steady pace despite our begging for even just some merciful slowing. My grandparent’s house is now, officially, turned over to others. It’s weird to trespass on property you’ve known and loved for life. I did it happily to steal a few photos, catch an old scent, hear a few familiar sounds for the last time. These precious digital pictures will never fade, thanks be to God. Though they capture what is now rather than what was once, I cherish them nonetheless.
One of the benefits of having the boys enrolled in camp is that they get mixed in with a bunch of kids they don’t know and, because the atmosphere is so relaxed, they get to learn a whole bunch of stuff that I wouldn’t think to teach them. They learned how to play the card game BS last week and I enjoyed listening to them recount the rules. I watched them join a bunch of kids learning how to do the cha-cha slide, and Minor said he learned the macharena afterward. They’ve picked up a few choice words along the way, like using “freaking” correct in context during casual conversation. Don’t get me started on the very embarrassing “F-word” episode while in the van with a dear friend of mine, Ursa Minor deciding it would be a great time to reveal he knows the word and Major chiming in afterward by saying it a handful of times before we adults were able to shut them up. Lordy.
Childhood is about finding boundaries and pushing them. We all lived. I lived. I can feel my friend’s judgement as I type this, which makes me laugh. Anyway, the point is, kids teach kids stuff. I have no control over the lessons. Some come with fond memories of fun things done. Others… well, they come with F-bombs at random on a Saturday afternoon.
The other thing I like about camp is that teens and college kids are in charge. The boys get to run around with young adults who seem to have as much energy as they do. Many of the counselors are of-color in various shades and backgrounds. One such young man, mixed, just like my boys, probably 19 or so, has been with the boys all week. His reddish curly hair and honey-brown hue makes me think a dear friend from back in college. He’s clearly made an impression on the boys, and likes them a lot, so when I picked the boys up from camp yesterday, he crossed the gym to say hello and walk us out.
The boys immediately started screaming all the things they’d done during the day. Pool day. Karate kicks. Sword training. More stuff. It all blurs together when both boys are screaming different things at one time. The counselor listened and laughed, trying to converse with me about the weather and traffic.
We rounded the corner of the lobby, about to head out into the parking lot, when another young person came round the bend, stopped in his tracks and looked the four of us over. He then looked at the counselor, who I’ll remind you is somewhere around his late teens, possibly 20 years old, and he says with delighted excitement:
“Dude! Is that your mom, Dude!?”
Oh my God.
“Nah, bruh…” The counselor said without losing his pace.
“Do I really look that old?” I gasped.
The counselor laughed goodheartedly, the sweet child. “Oh, uh, no, ma’am… I think it was about complexion, you know? Uh… with the boys and stuff… we could look like a family, you know?”
Yo, true, but there were a lot of relationship threads that could have been shouted there. Dude bro went for mom. I look like a woman who could have an 19 year-old. Duuuuuuuddddeeeeeeeeee my eeeeggoooooo…..
I told this story to my mom, who wisely and helpfully brought me a big ol’ helping of wine to calm me down, and her comforting words were, “well you know, mathematically… you could have an 18 year-old…”
Lordy, that doesn’t help!
One day, you’re the young hotness…. the next day you look like some teen’s mom. Such is this life, I guess. I certainly earned a new gray hair from that moment! Good thing it blends in with all the others!
(I…was never the young hotness… who the hell am I kidding?)
Anyway, how is your week going, Dear Reader? Think you’ll make it to the end of the week having an accomplishment under your belt? I hope so. Hopefully, I will too.
I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.
(I…am off to purchase 5 jars of wrinkle cream…)