So there I was, outside the high school, the very same one I went to 20 plus years ago, waiting for my 15 year old daughter. My fingers drum the steering wheel as I watch other parents circle the parking lot. The radio is playing and as I check the clock for the umpteenth time, the next song comes on, REO Speedwagon, and suddenly I’m transported back in time.
I’ve always said that your senses are your best connection to the past. A smell, a sight, a sound can put you in a cherished moment from the past. Music has that power. I sat in my truck and I remembered wanting the dance to last a little longer, wanting more time to hold my sweetheart’s hand, to have one more slow dance and steal another kiss. (Remember, 15 yrs old and old-fashioned. I had an exaggerated sense of chivalry). I could remember thinking my dad was waiting outside and so was hers.
Here is where the cold splash of reality snapped me back to the present. That was MY daughter in there and some punk-assed, pimple faced boy with disproportionately large hands… Here I have to take a deep breath and remember that 20 plus years ago, that punk-ass was me and that girl whose mother waited outside, is now my wife, Sue.
I have to accept that Bug is growing up. I have to accept that Bean is heading to that same high school in little over a year. In doing so I have to also accept that I am getting older as well. I am now in the same position my parents and, more notably, Sue’s parents were. It’s something I never gave much thought to. They seemed so old from my teenaged perspective, but I don’t feel that old. Ok, some days after softball tournaments I do feel that old but I certainly don’t think like I’m old.
I suppose they didn’t either.
I watch her walk out the doors of the tech wing (changed now from my time there) and walk towards the truck and at first I feel relieved that no boy follows her out. She seems so confident and I’m glad. She looks beat, a good showing at the swim meet earlier in the day coupled with an evening of dancing, and so she should. But above all she’s happy. She’s had boyfriends and I’m happy she’s taking her time and has a level head about the whole thing. I don’t remember being that confident and mature at her age.
But there was a time overlapping and I couldn’t help but actually miss high school and envy her the mystery and sparkle that comes with finding first loves, and second loves and just being a teenager. Going to a dance now, just doesn’t have that same magic.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t actually like high school. I wouldn’t give that time up, mind you, but I have my regrets. I made some mistakes that I’d like to undo. There were opportunities I should have taken, but I came away with something invaluable, I married my high school sweetheart. There walking across the parking lot was the results.
Age be damned, I’m where I’m supposed to be and so is Bug. I have to realize that time has rose-coloured my memories of those dances and I can’t stop my two girls from growing up. I can, however, do my damnedest to prevent myself from getting any older. Mind over matter, right? RIGHT??
Author’s note: 20 plus years means that I don’t want to admit to any more than that amount of time. It’s my age prevention technique. (20plus=closer to 30yrs). Sue says I don’t act a day over 12 and I thank her every time. Not sure why that makes her roll her eyes and stomp out of the room.