On any given day you’ll most likely find my bus’ radio set to 80’s on 8. My eldest son has begun to ask a lot questions about the songs we hear, and his favorite question to ask is, “Hey, Mom, did you like this song when you were a kid?” Most of the time my reply is, “Yes, do you like it, buddy?” Being that this station conveniently displays the year that the song came out, my son also plays a math game he created that I’ve lovingly titled here: “How old was Mom when this song came out?”
Yesterday he declared that I was five in 1982 (the same age as my middle child) after we rocked out with Joan Jett. He was correct. I was five, and it feels like just yesterday I was dancing around the basement in my childhood home to my sister’s 45” of that song as she shouted at me to leave her and her slumber party friends alone. I can almost smell that old basement and feel the rubber stair runner on the soles of my feet. Aren’t sensory memories a crazy thing? I have found myself having more and more of them lately, perhaps they’re one of the laundry list of weird things that come with being on the dark-side of thirty. I’m quite a nostalgic person, and my friends make fun of all of the things I have managed to save from decades ago like my coveted collection of Garbage Pail Kids soon to be bequeathed to my kids along with the Cabbage Patch dolls, My Little Ponies, and Barbies that my daughter doesn’t play with like I did.
She turns six next week, and it is not something I am looking forward to. Her toddler years are gone (insert frowny face). She’s a little girl with quite a free-spirited, yet strong willed personality much like her mama. She is just bursting with life and laughter, and I love her dearly. When she starts a sentence with, “Hey, Mom…?” there’s no telling which direction the remainder of that sentence is going to go. Earlier today she said, “Hey, Mom, did you know that XYZ friend eats leaves?” Well, no, I did not, but I am pretty sure I’ll be monitoring your play time with XYZ much more closely. These questions posed by my big kids keep me on my toes. They’re so innocent, and sometimes quite amusing, but you don’t dare giggle for fear of hurting their little feelings.
For instance, after doing the math and declaring how old I was in 1982 my big boy then proceeded to give me a dissertation on the events of my mom’s life. It was fun to hear him liken me to her like that and to listen to his thought process. He noted that she was alive when Neil Armstrong uttered these words, “That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind." He added that she also probably saw civil rights marches and the Vietnam War on her TV and wondered if Amelia Earhart went missing when my mom was a kid. He did the math and quickly figured out that she and her plane disappeared five years before my mom was born. Then, he asked if she was in her mommy’s tummy at that time! HA-HA...not quite yet, son. Clearly I will be giving the birds and bees talk soon, a talk I am really not looking forward to.
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Why? Why do these precious kids have to grow? I see our youngest attempt to emulate everything his big sister and big brother do. Sometimes it’s cute, and sometimes it’s worrisome, especially when the sibling rivalry kicks into high gear (which has been often lately). At nearly the age of two he’s quite the sponge and repeating nearly everything we say, albeit probably grasping about fifty percent of our conversations with him and responding with monosyllabic replies. Soon enough, he’ll add some extra syllables and ask me some questions that start with “Hey, Mom…?” I look forward to hearing what’s piqued his curious little mind. Until then, I will play the “How old was Mom when…?” game with my older two, and it will continue to make me feel older and older.