Monday, May 25, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened on the Road to Adulthood

I was almost finished writing a reflective post about the ups and downs of adulthood using the song Circle Game as a reference, but reality kicked me in the butt and well, made me laugh. It has been rough around these parts: insane stress, huge bills, broken down cars leading to more huge bills, and another ticket when I went through a yellow light that turned red while looking for the speed limit sign (that statement alone would be funny if it wasn't so expensive).

In the middle of all of this life keeps marching on and both girls keep marching on toward adulthood. Caroline in particular. So far May has given her: her official driver's license, an award for creative writing student of the year, her first job, and the position of president in the creative writing club. Caroline being herself has been too stressed to really enjoy this like I wish she could (she had projects AND AP exams AND SOL tests), so her wacky family has to provide the comic relief.

For example, a couple of weekends ago, I was driving her and her friend to the Marine Corp Museum to turn in their applications to volunteer. Both Caroline and I were going over different mental checklists out loud and frankly annoying the beejesus out of each other. All of the sudden, about 100 police officers on motor cycles with lights flashing pulled up behind me. I had just received the above mentioned ticket the week before and am justifiably nervous around police officers. I didn't know what to do! My heart started racing and my mouth went dry, so I did the only logical thing: hide.  I turned into the nearest neighborhood and waited for them to pass. After I turned out of the neighborhood,  I was hoping they'd turn off on the highway, but they kept right on down the road in front of me. Of course I couldn't see a speed limit sign anywhere. I kept muttering "Is it 35? 45? what do I do?" The girls suggested to go for the middle, so I drove along behind the officers at a steady 40 MPH right up to the Marine Corp Museum. Yes, the girls had chosen some sort of police officer appreciation day to go the museum! It was bad enough that my "hippy dippy" peace loving, flowy dress wearing self was going to walk into a museum full of uniformed Marines. I was doing it while being followed by a bunch of police officers! Caroline whispered "It will be OK Mama, let's just go in." At this point, I was sweating and shaking and needed a drink (water, not wine). The girls went up to the information desk and I stood by the wall trying to look interested in the "History of Hispanics in the Marine Corp" pamphlet I'd grabbed. Everything went fine and the girls were very excited to apply to volunteer. Me? I went home and grabbed a large glass of sweet tea!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Road to Adulthood II

And then there was this: a text from Caroline last week "My group in Spanish figures we have a big kitchen so they want to do our project at our house." What the what? A project? At my house? Over Memorial Day weekend? I was going to spend Saturday and Sunday cleaning and doing yard work, then go to the pool on Monday. I didn't want a bunch of unknown teens in my house. Especially "group project" teens! Which educator ever decided that group projects were educationally sound? One or two people do all the work and the rest coast. Guess which kid is the worker?

Well, I fussed and fumed all weekend about this invasion of space. I didn't do a good job of hiding my displeasure at all. Caroline was out and about exercising the new found freedom that a driver's license brings and every time she came home it was to a sweaty, cranky, injured ( I am clumsy when angry) mother. I was a joy!  When she told me they weren't coming over until 1 on Monday, the grouch level blew. How was I supposed to go sit by the pool and read magazines while sipping iced tea and watching Lily reclaim her summer persona of part human part fish? I finally got over myself and the girls and I watched Mom's Night Out. For the first time in a while, we found a movie we could all laugh at. It was a really nice night!

I figured if they worked fast enough, we could still make the pool. Yeah, I know we were dealing with a group project...while recording it.... with cell phones... wait, why did I think we'd make it to the pool? I helped them cut up fresh pineapple and mango. They tried, but I wanted everyone to keep their fingers and make it out of my house. I felt like I was on a cooking show as they all stood around watching me try to get the eyes out of the pineapple without cursing (I already scarred one teen by cursing at Caroline's 16th birthday, I wasn't going to make that mistake again). After 2 1/2 hours, they were almost finished. My suit was laid out on my bed, Lily was watching their every move, willing them to hurry up. Everything was going according to plan, so of course someone opened the back door AND Buffy escaped!

They all tore through the neighborhood (still wearing aprons) trying to catch her. Rob drove after them (boy was he happy!). Lily and I waited at home and finished dipping the fruit in chocolate. About 30 minutes later they came back with the dog laughing and sharing war stories. It was charming until I heard "We only lost one kid in the woods, he'll make it back." Why me? Why my house? Luckily, he showed up 2 minutes later. The girls were laughing about having gotten their exercise and the boys were sharing the tales of strength and humor. Rob looked at me and said "This is the kind of stuff they'll talk about when they're adults." I added "You mean when they are in their 40's and can't read anything without holding it way out in front of them?" I watched my beautiful girl directing everyone. Someday she too will be watching her own teens fumble through their own projects.

Oh yeah, we didn't make it to the pool.  That's ok, it'll be there all summer.