Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Parental Nostalgia

My mom says she enjoyed my brothers’ and my teenage years. It’s not that I doubt her word, but I remember the teen entity claiming my name…

I think memories of teen children are like memories of child birth...hours of labor, followed by excruciating pushing, during which massive quantities of ocular blood vessels pop and sex is sworn off for eternity.

Then a tiny, beautiful, amazing little person is placed in your arms and LOVE endorphins kick in. Unbearable agony becomes a shimmering haze fading into nostalgia…and a few years later, childbirth is imminent again…

The teen years are slightly different. Parents are older, more seasoned, not easily fooled by nostalgia. You stumble through the first child’s teen induction, which leaves you terrified regarding the second’s. By the third child, you truly wish you’d sworn off sex far sooner.

Then children leave home and nostalgia kicks in. Every memory softens...sweetens. Laughter erupts at the dinner table over hard times you thought you couldn’t survive, and tears spill over the silliest notions of parenthood.

I joined a group of women on Sunday for a show called Mama’s got a Brand New Bag. It was geared toward middle-aged women and very, very funny. However, during the second act, the lyrics from one song targeted feelings of loss when a child leaves home. Within seconds, huge, unexpected tears poured down my face—I couldn’t brush them away fast enough. Nostalgia wrapped around my body, and J’s life flashed before my eyes…every moment bathed in a soft, golden glow.

I recovered and laughed through the rest of the show…arriving home immersed in nostalgia and emotion. Within five minutes, A. and M. snapped me back to reality. Teendom and tweendom collided with me head on…nostalgia swirled rapidly down the drain.

I’m ok though. My mom’s memories assure me that mine will be just as soft, just as sweet, just as wonderful. I just have to survive the next seven years…labor and delivery are look'n good right now…

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