Saturday, December 31, 2011
As we await the dawning of the new year, 2012, I am quite certain that landmark preparations have begun in distant lands all over the globe. For example, in Micronesia tribes are fattening goats and awaiting the ripening of luscious tree fruits. Preserves are being prepared and small children are learning to weave elaborate tapestries from leaves and vines all in my honor. In Turkmenistan, puppets are being carved from ancient wood in my likeness and somewhere in the deep recesses of Syberia, elderly women are sewing frilly garments to don on the Day of Marg-nificance – March 16.
How do I know these things are underway? Well, if I were to share that privileged information, I would most likely have to terminate our relationship however superficial and cyber-like it may be. Suffice it to say, I just know.
While the actual thought of turning 40 in a mere 77 days has filled me with angst and often times angina, I’ve resolve that for the new year I shall begin to embrace the onset of old age rather than fighting it. In theory, and according to the New Year’s Resolutions I’ve scribbled down on the back of a Phineas and Ferb coloring book page, I resolve to love my wrinkles, adore my receding gums and not sweat the fact that many portions of my body creak and crackle all the way up the stairs each morning.
So as we enter 2012, I say to the people of the world – “Prepare. For the grand Day of Marg-nificance is approaching and I want hoopla!” Just not too much, you know, I am getting old and I’ll need to get to bed early.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Today is my son’s last day of pre-school before Christmas Break. Thankfully, my last day of school was last Friday so I got a jump on him and was awarded four glorious days of vacation –sans child to do all those fun things like visit the dentist and the gyno. Aside from the bulk of these unpleasant tasks that are always put off until break and then suck up large chunks of the initial glory days, I simply adore school breaks. Any of them. I’ve long stayed in the education field not because I enjoy the process of developing the brilliant young minds of tomorrow, ah hells no, I'm there purely for these glorious breaks – Christmas Break, Spring Break, Summer Vacation – they make the low pay and ridiculous daily tasks – wiping boogers, stopping catfights, and worst of all dealing with helicopter parents, all worthwhile. The best thing about taking a job in a boarding school is the marvelous way in which breaks suddenly turn into multi-week events to allow students time to travel home. The joy that fills one on that last afternoon before the big dismissal is something that grows with age. If you were excited for break as a 4th grader, by the time you’re 39, you are freakin’ delirious with joy.
But this break is a bit different, as this time around, I no longer have a child who enjoys an afternoon nap or is content to play alone. No, now I have a child who is as surly as I ever dreaming of being, is incapable of going more than 30 seconds without conversation, has a hilarious dark side that is often used against me and under no circumstances will be caught snoozing the afternoon away . This break is going to hurt. Instead of a break like so very many in the past, where I lounge the days away enjoying coffee while surfing Martha Stewart episodes, sipping afternoon wine with Oprah, and catching up on sleep whilst my little devil naps, I will be involved in marathon games of Memory, countless trips around the cul-de-sac following a bike with monster-training wheels and hours of “play with me!” Yes, I realize it’s a “joyful time to remember and cherish,” though did you ever notice, those words seldom come out of the mouths of anyone in the trenches unless he or she is heavily medicated or imbibing in the good stuff?
Thank god for afternoon Moscato and my son’s love of Dr. Oz! But more than that- thank god he goes back to school a week before Mommy!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Old people check the obituaries. Every day. This fact can be confirmed with a quick visit to any Rest Home or Adult Village the world over. It’s a widely known fact that each morning, while sipping half-caf and knocking back some bran, old people take a fine-tooth comb to the obituaries page of the local paper. But this practice is not limited to just the local paper – it’s any paper. Why? Because it’s not about seeing if a distant friend or acquaintance is the topic of page 8, rather it is all about checking the ages on each of the deceased and then comparing that against your own. How can I be certain? Because now as I hear 40 knocking (nay, banging violently) upon my door, I’ve caught myself perpetrating the same act.
Once upon a time, I would point, laugh and make old people jokes as I happened across dear aging family members and friends taking part in this ritual. Now I realize the error of my young foolheartedness. It started a few months ago, each time the paper comes, I complete the cycle – start to finish -the half-caf, the bran, the whole she-bang. Initially, I mistook my grim check-in as compassion but soon I realized while scanning the Press-Citizen Obit section, that I didn’t know a freakin’ soul in Iowa City,- it was clear – I was just an old person searching for validation.
Now, as I scan the Obituaries, making certain that the majority of ages listed on these final biographies are significantly higher than my own, I don't try to pretend - I own the freakish task. Like complaining about the lyrics of popular music and being horrified by teenage fashion, The Obit Crusie is a rite of passage and that I have passed into full on.