Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old

In addition to frizzy hair and sweating in embarrassing places, this summer brought our family a glimpse of the future, and I wish I could say it was as awesome as flying cars and personalized hologram greetings at the Gap. I spent a week doing daily GT training in preparation for my new full-time job. So, instead of our usual Mommy Days, it was kids being with someone else all day and getting in 30 minutes of family time at night.

I did not love it.

But, the fact is, things were going to change no matter what. The boys started kindergarten two weeks ago, and me staying home would not have afforded me much more time with them. Plus, it would have been hard for them going through school as the kids whose mommy spent all day staring through the windows and weeping. We are now fully ensconced in the two-working-parent life complete with full-time school for the boys and two sports seasons in motion.

Sidebar: Youth sports in Texas should only be played in April and May.

My new job is teaching seventh and eighth grade GT English in Frisco. It is a dream job, but it may also kill me. I’m out of practice and older and sleep-deprived and a mommy. Needless to say, this here blog has been abandoned. In lieu of actual content, I bring you my teacher version of a favorite Garth Brooks tune, “I’m Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old.”

This pile o’ paper’s getting larger
Seems there ain’t no end in sight
To sleep would be best, but I just can’t afford to rest
I’ve got Meet the Teacher tomorrow night

I called for help, but no one answered
For the last two hours no one’s been here
I guess it’s only me, to tell the truth I just can’t see
What’s kept me up at school ’til six o’ clock.

And the words are getting blurry, and my yogurt’s getting mold;
I’m much too young to feel this damn old
All my plans are on the table but they ain’t too close to whole
I’m much too young to feel this damn old

The student grammar’s getting worser
Tougher punks, you know I can’t recall
A worn out book of Harry Wong, smuggled candy, and a country song
Seem to be the only friends I’ve left at all

And the words are getting blurry, and my yogurt’s getting mold;
I’m much too young to feel this damn old
All my plans are on the table but they ain’t too close to whole
I’m much too young to feel this damn old

Lord, I’m much too young to feel this damn old

Women And Hair: A Fairytale With No Happy Ending

Family lore includes a story about my first bad haircut. I was about five-years-old, and it was cut very short. Now, short hair is cute, but mine was naturally curly and unpredictable. That doesn’t always look cute. I was unhappy and refused to leave the car once we returned home. My mom, clearly worn-out from having me as a daughter for five years already, went into the house and stupidly told my brothers not to say anything to me about my hair. Naturally, they came out to the car and pointed and laughed.

Thus began my never-ending journey towards accepting my hair.

I have always considered my curly hair to be a burden. (Along with the burden of being incredibly smart and humble.) It curls right when I want it to go left. It pokes out of ponytails in unattractive ways. It refused to be braided cleanly. It’s as poufy as Julia Roberts’s hair but less cute. Like by 100,000. I have had a hair stylist since I was double digits. No mere Super Cuts could handle me.

Um, not quite what mine would look like. Needs more pokey hairs going every which way. Photo Via demeter clarc

 

Oh sweetie, keep smiling; it distracts from the hair.

Oh sweetie, keep smiling; it distracts from the hair.

 

I can't imagine how long it must have took my mom to get it all in one direction. And, yes, I did wear purple at my First Communion.

I can’t imagine how long it must have taken my mom to get it all in one direction. And, yes, I did wear purple at my First Communion.

I have never been afraid to experiment with my hair. I got it permed a ton when that was a cool thing to do. But Stephanie, you said your hair is naturally curly; why would you perm it? I’m not sure, but I think I thought it would make the curls behave. Plus spiral perms were a thing, so I had to do it. The one good aspect was due to my hair’s natural wave, perms lasted about nine months. I’ve dyed it black, though you couldn’t tell. I’ve put blonde highlights in it. I’ve had it many lengths, sometimes all at once.

A friend and I heading to a bar mitzvah. This picture is just golden. The fashion, the hair....

A friend and I heading to a bar mitzvah. This picture is just golden. The fashion, the hair….

In high school I decided it wasn’t enough to be the skinniest girl ever with the sassiest mouth, I also wanted hair that made me stand out in a bad way. And my parents let me do it because they knew someday the only person who would be embarrassed was me.

Do you see it? That's right; I have a tail that I braided and held together with rainbow elastics. I dyed the tail black once too. Also, do you see my mom's hair? That's where mine came from.

Do you see it? That’s right; I have a tail that I braided and held together with rainbow elastics. I dyed the tail black once too. Also, do you see my mom’s hair? The genetics are strong in this family.

Like I said, I’ve always had a stylist, and it’s because my mom was sympathetic to my plight. She has never really loved her hair either. She used to put her hair around orange juice cans to straighten it. I’m sure that’s why she agreed to paying for my stylist to do my hair before my senior photos.

That's my hair on perm.

That’s my hair on perm.

The long and short of it (sorry, had to do it) is that women have a complicated relationship with hair. We want it off places where it naturally grows. If we have curly hair, we want straight hair, believing it to be much easier to style. And, oh my, the thing about being devoted to our stylists. We can’t even leave them when want to try some new ideas from a new person. We lie and say it’s totally comfortable to be bent at the neck while they wash our hair with scalding water for what feels like 20 minutes. We tell them we love the way they styled it and then brush it out in the car. Do men worry about their hair? Sure. Then they scratch something and move on. They do not obsess over it and buy magazines with impossible styles they think they can do in the five minutes they devote to hair care in the morning.

I am now spitting distance to 40 and have cut off the long hair once again. For now, I like it short and even let it go curly most of the time. Maybe this is me. Maybe this will be me for a long time. Or maybe I’ll get some purple highlights this summer……

What Being A Mother Gets You

Insert wry comment about stretch marks and a huge butt. Add in comical image of inedible, kid-made breakfast in bed followed by mom cleaning the trashed kitchen. Rim shot. Canned laughter.

Yes, the ragged, run-down mom image is hilarious and often true. But today I want to talk about the other real benefits mothers get. Because though motherhood gets rough sometimes, it has added so much to my life.

I’ve got my boys, my sweet Buddies. They are so fun to be around, and it’s a treat to watch them turn into people. They have great senses of humor, and they laugh at my jokes, which we all know is my favorite thing. It’s really hard to be grumpy for too long around them. They just create joy wherever they are. And I can’t adequately describe the calming feeling of their touch, the sweet little boy head tucked under my chin as they sit on my lap.

I was the definition of content watching my boys' first musical with them. They had to sit on my lap, and I got to hear all the murmurs of wonder they expressed.

I was the definition of content watching my boys’ first musical with them. They had to sit on my lap, and I got to hear all the murmurs of wonder.

I’ve gained inspiration as a mother because my boys inspire me. I watch them learn something new and not give up, and I’m reminded that you have to keep trying when something’s hard. When they overcome an obstacle, I am reminded that it only takes the will to do it to make things better. They inspire me to be a better teacher for all the other mothers’ babies. And they always inspire to be a better mother. For one, they forgive my frequent missteps. I look at them and know they deserve the best mom. I want to do right by them, and they let me try again and again.

Jack overcame stage fright and Alex has learned it's okay to make mistakes. Their t-ball team has been so great.

Jack overcame stage fright, and Alex has learned it’s okay to make mistakes. Their t-ball team has been so great.

Being a mother has also gotten me a tribe of women to count on and look to for advice. One of the hardest things after losing Carter was this feeling that I had been kicked out of the Mom Club. I looked at moms and their kids at the store and felt like a creepy stalker. I had no kids with me nor was I buying family things, so why the hell was I staring? But my friends who had kids knew that I was a mother and were good about making me feel welcome. And now the other mothers I know are an invaluable part of my life. They support my parenting and my personal needs. They offer a shoulder to cry on and reassurance that I’m not doing it all wrong.

Thanks friends for dinner and laughs.

Thanks friends for dinner and laughs.

And my mom friends send me pictures of beautiful Carter skies on Mother's Day.

And my mom friends send me pictures of beautiful Carter skies on Mother’s Day.

This Mother’s Day I just want to thank my sweet boys for bringing me all these gifts. I wish you’d have skipped the stretch marks, but I know they were given with love.