Last week marked the official end to summer. This was old news to many of us who said goodbye to summer weeks ago. Perhaps at the exact moment we were photographing our children (looking the best they will look all year long) holding their Pinterest-inspired first day of school signs. We have already grudgingly readjusted to the strictures of routine and schedule and simultaneously given up caring what they look like when they go to school. Nearly one month in to the school year, my boys left the house looking as if they had not brushed their hair in 4 days. And last week I let them wear stripes on stripes. Don’t judge.
Last week was a hard week to be a parent, especially to two little boys who love to watch football.
Everywhere you turned, someone was talking about the massive scandals involving several NFL players and their deplorable conduct. On television. In the newspapers. In line at the grocery store. I did everything in my power to shield them from all of it. I didn’t even let them watch the NFL halftime shows on Sunday because I knew what the topic of discussion would be.
I suppose I could have told them a watered down version of events. It is, after all, in vogue in the parenting world to turn every moment into a “teachable moment.” I suppose we could have had a didactic discussion about whether employers should be able to fire you for your off-the-job conduct. Or whether when you hold yourself out as a role model, you accept that you should be held to a higher standard.
38 years ago, our mothers asked each other to be godmothers to their new daughters. 27 years after that, we were each other’s maids of honor. Fast forward another 3 and we are godmothers to each other’s babies. And all the moments of all the years in between are just too good to reduce to words.
When we were younger, I idolized her incredible spirit of adventure, her fearlessness, her inimitable ability to make everyone laugh, her giant heart that embraced everything and everyone. I still do. But now I admire how she didn’t sacrifice those qualities on the altar of adulthood. Instead, she effortlessly parlayed all of them into her marriage, her children and her work.
With the advent of summer comes a rite of passage in many families: The Summer Roadtrip. When kids today bemoan the horror of an impending car trip, those of us who are now of parental age are quick to remind our offspring that we spent our youths crammed into the backseat of a station wagon with none of today’s vehicular luxuries.
In the interest of determining who had to endure more (because there always has to be a winner), I thought I thought I would compare the two experiences.
A companion piece to the Ten Things That Are Cool About Getting Older…
10. Instead of those crappy Cosmo quizzes about how to land the man/woman of your dreams, the only quizzes you take now are ones from your investment adviser entitled “Will You Have Enough to Retire?” And it turns out, no matter what numbers you put in the boxes, the answer is always NO. Believe me, I have tried to game the system. I put in astronomical exaggerations for what we are currently putting into our 401(k) and it’s still not enough. Apparently we will have to work. Forever.