I wonder how my kids perceive me, us. I asked K the other evening as we drove home from Basketball “do you remember at 6 or 7 or 10 what you thought of your parents? Didn’t they always seem old to you?!” He said ‘YES, always!’ I was thinking I never remember my parents being young or cool. They always seemed old to me. Not old like they are now but just not as young as they were… like, you know, the age I am now!
We asked M Bug what we are like to him, young or old. He said we are in between young and old! Heh.
An easy first thought is they they never liked doing what young people did, they just did old people stuff but if I think really hard I know that is not true. I started back tracking and thinking about what made them seem young in retrospect and there was a lot...
My Dad ran and liked to run races. He played tennis and was pretty good. He loved to play computer games on those early 80s computers. He took me horseback riding and his face was always in the crowd and I could hear his voice echoing across the pool when I swam. In my memories his was a deep young voice that always gave me confidence as I dove into the pool to swim. He travelled and would tell me stories about where he was and what he did. He was really into football and baseball and would sit up and lean into the television during big games. I remember my Dad and Mom dressing up for a costume party where he went as an Arab (how un-PC, right?!) and my Mom was clown (ha!) They liked to party into the night and had tons of interesting friends, artsy or geeky depending on whose friends they were hanging out with. My dad had the best office at Quadrex where he worked and everyone always seemed to like him despite the fact that he was the "boss". Part of the reason his office was so cool were the funny cartoons he had hanging up and the puzzle “games” he had on his desk! I can remember the smell of his aftershave and to do this day I think that smell would remind me of my younger Dad.
My Mom actually had cool clothes and nice heels that I remember trying on in the walk-in closet when she was not home. She never wore much make up but she had amazing scarfs and handkerchiefs that probably went out a decade earlier but I thought they were so chic. She always bought nice purses that cost a lot of money, not like the junk I carry around but beautiful leather purses with fancy names and horses on them (and the smell of the inside of those purses still lingers with me: mint and leather!) She had funky artsy friends that always took me under their wings like extra mothers and she had a knack for befriending people who loved children but did not have children of their own. She took me to amazing exhibits at museums and she was an art docent and for some reason that made her ultra cool. She got her hair colored. She drove a sports car that was blue and sleek. And while I often thought she was terribly full of herself she really had this ability to be full of life except when she was depressed which became more often as she grew older. The full of life part of her makes her seem younger in my memories; the depression makes her seem older. She was crafty and had some project or another going when she was happy. The smell of oil paint and clay under her nails brings back fond young mom memories. Finally she read and read and read (still does…) She used play tennis at the swim & racquet club and I remember them drinking and sitting amongst their peers and that memory the most reminds me of my young Mom.
I do not think of myself as old per say. Though I do get freaked out when I hear young people talking loudly using fowl language and I want to throttle that boy who said FUCK THAT loudly near my daughter. I feel pretty hip and with it. I am no fashion plate or urban hipster but that is okay. I definitely do not feel old.... And yet the fact remains no matter what age I was, I always through my parents were old then they were.
Do you ever wonder how your kids perceive you?!