When I look in the mirror I see the me I've always seen, perhaps altered by a few more smile lines than I remember when last I looked, and the debut of crows feet that have stamped their way onto my face when I wasn't paying attention. But I don't look so different from 23 do I? Am I in denial? I know I'm dangerously close to 30, and to me, that IS old. I still am shocked that last summer I attended my 10 year high school reunion. I am flabbergasted that the girls who are now pledging my sorority were born in 1995. My baby sisters are done with college, one with her masters, and they're getting married. My parents (who don't look any different to me than they did 10 years ago, except maybe improved) are grandparents 7x over. I have 4 kids people. FOUR. Granted, I cheated a little and got a 2-4-1 deal, but still. I'm a grown up, a mother and a wife. I'm an adult. (I have to tell myself that regularly because I sometimes don't believe it.)
I struggle with this. I love being a mom and wife, but I don't want to act my age sometimes. I don't want to become that lady who drives the minivan and totes her kids all around town, but I fear the transformation is already taking place, even through my desires to stay young. I still want to go out and dance until my legs feel like jelly. I still want to wear feathered earrings and nylon hot pink skirts (not at the same time). I want to put sparkly eye shadow on and listen to Yellowcard too loudly (same time).
Some people will read this and just harumph, because they're older than me and they'll be thinking, "I wish I were 29 again." Others will read it and click their teeth in disappointment because I'm not able to appreciate the here and now. And still the younger ones will read it and be scared that this will someday happen to them.
I am a forever juxtaposed mind. I can be totally happy and content with what I'm doing and the age I am. The next day I can feel unfulfilled, as if I'm not meeting the full potential God gave me.
Today is the latter kind of day. I just can't believe the years are slipping by so quickly. It's true what the old people say: Every year speeds up and flies by faster--the older you are, the faster you age.
I told Ryan I'd change his name in my blog to protect his innocence. So his name is now Bryan.
Bryan and I dropped Luke and Juliette off at church Saturday night for a "Parents Night Out" fundraiser. We would've dropped the babies off too, but the church peeps weren't equipped for baby babies, so we took them with.
We went down to Conch Farm for a cold beer and to walk the docks. It was a COLD night for Key West, especially with the sun already sunk and the breeze coming off the water. Bryan ran up to the bar to get us drinks, and as I stood by the double stroller, rocking it with one hand and the other dug deep into my jacket pocket for warmth, I watched people watching me. They walked by and saw me, alone outside of the restaurant, my 5foot frame, my adorable faux leather black little jacket from Ross, my skinny jeans, and my twins. I tried hard to read each mind as they came by. "What is she doing out with those babies in this weather!?" or "Where is the father?" or "TWINS! so glad that's not me..." or "What a hot mom!" or "She's too young to have babies". (I knew no one was really thinking the last two, but I hoped for it.)
But one group of women didn't make me guess. They were tipsy, beautiful women in their late forties, out in Key West to relive some old memories and make some new ones. One of them saw me and came right over, talking too loudly to be sober. She smiled and said seeing me brought back great memories. Her twins are 23 now, and she laughed as she mentioned their age. She asked, "Can you believe it? I don't look that old do I?"
I assured her she looked beautiful, and as her and her girlfriends paused in their revelry to look down at my babies, I knew they were jealous of me, just as at that same moment, I was jealous of them. I told her I look forward to the day I can go out with my girls again, when my little ones don't rely on me for their everything. The twin mom gave me a quick encouraging hug, smiled knowingly, and they all scampered off down the docks. But even as I watched them leave I knew I didn't speak the entire truth. I DO look forward to my future freedom, but I know the day my babies don't need me anymore I will be devastated. (See what I mean by my juxtaposed mind? I can't pick a perspective and stick to it. The seaweed is always greener.)
Then Bryan returns, my real life knight, with a smile and two drinks, and I'm back to loving every aspect of our crazy lives. Right then I don't care that I'm in the last year of my twenties. Or that Bryan is and will always be 8 months younger than me (punk). Or that when I smile, my eyes crinkle a bit. Being around him always brings me back to 23.
So I've decided. Today, inside my mind I'm sparkly and young. Tomorrow though, I'll have to start looking for gray hairs. I don't want those to sneak up on me too.