Yep, that’s what I smelled like last night.  From young to old. From the delicious aroma of Willy Wonka’s own candy goodness to the minty freshness of muscle and joint aches.  Mmmmmmm.  I’m not sure how my husband could have resisted me, although thankfully he was there to stop me from rubbing my eyes after application with a stern fingerwag to go wash my hands first.  My smaller twin toddler has figured out how to regrow the umbilical cord between us and I’ve had to carry him around for the past forever lately, and my neck and back are killing me.  Like my neck is on fire, electric shocks are shooting down my arms, and my bulging discs are bulginger.  Ben-Gay helps a little, but mostly reminds me of the paste I desperately wanted to eat in first grade.

I’m getting old.  If you cut me in half there’s a little over forty rings.  It’s hard to believe sometimes that I’ve lived for four decades. That’s two score…I’m almost halfway to the beginning of the Gettysburg address.  I think about what I used to love but can’t do anymore.  I loved to swing, now I get vertigo looking at them.  I loved slides, but now it’s just too fast and what’s the point, really?  I loved to double dutch jump rope as a kid and I was good.  Now you’d need a defibrillator ready.  I could do a ton of cartwheels and roundoffs in a row.  I’m too scared to try because 1) my shirt would flip up exposing my stomach and there is just no reason to do that to anyone, and 2) I don’t want to end up on Tosh.0 after having my whole kneecap rip through my skin and land twenty feet away in my koi pond.

But some days I don’t feel old. I still love blowing bubbles, gum or soap, I don’t discriminate.  I like to play with chalk on the sidewalks, and I still draw hideous flower creations that are about as good as I did when I was six.  I like to watch cartoons, I like to play hide and seek (but only if I’m the hider, being the hidee makes me scream like a stereotypical blonde, big breas-…ahem…voluptuous girl in a slasher movie), and I like to blow dandelion fluff around, although as a weed puller, I now see how that’s a bad thing.

Some days I feel twice my age.  Mostly when waking up, getting up from sitting, the end of the day, getting out of a car, and walking up and down stairs.  Oh, and after any physical activity.  Or no activity.  Or reading.  I could probably enter my knees in a beat box competition as long as I have a few stairs to walk up and down.  I make the Rice Krispies: “Snap! Crackle! Pop!”  sound like “whisper, huh?, shhh”.

But that’s why you have kids, right? To keep you feeling young.  While sometimes it’s boring, and you can only put that same puzzle together, push them on the swing, drag their wagon up and down the hill, and tell them “Yes, I’m getting you juice” so many times before you want to play hide and seek permanently, it’s still fun to see the world through their eyes.   The talking bear is really talking, the radio is their daddy checking in from work, anything can be a phone (even a piece of elbow macaroni with sauce on it), sitting in Mommy’s car and “driving” it is huge, and flushing the toilet makes you a god.  Watching my brawny twin outside barefoot beating on a purple beach ball with my marimba mallets, while wearing red baby Speedos, a Tonka hard hat, and a Spiderman pajama top makes me laugh and feel like a kid.  It makes me wonder about his whole life ahead of him.  Will he be a famous musician?  An engineer?  Judging from his choice of clothing lately, I’m going with lead singer in a cover band for the Village People.

Now that they are getting a little older, it’s more fun to play with them.  We can throw pillows at them a little harder (hehe),  they like to yell and dance to “Bohemian Rhapsody” when I play the piano, and they will try anything new if it’s presented as a “snack”.  They like to feed the fish, go for walks, and color.  They like to chalk my face, feed me, steal my pop, and I like to scream at them to “give me your belly” while they squeal, run away (but not too fast so I can catch them), and kiss on them.  When they are happy and playful, I feel younger.

My husband was seriously enjoying bubble blowing yesterday from our non-spillable SpongeBob SquarePants bubble holder said: “What happens when they don’t want to do bubbles anymore?”  I told him they will just go on to cars, Legos, and action figures.  Then I realized what he actually meant, and said: “Don’t worry, honey, we can still blow bubbles no matter how old they are.”

So while we’re creaking up and down stairs, taking 2000 milligrams of Motrin a day to function, putting off our collective neck, knee, and foot surgeries and chewing on muscle relaxers every night, we’re still playing.  Mom and Dad are still going to play even though something just cracked that might be important. We’re still going to run around like loons, play in the sprinklers, and swing them around the yard. We have plenty of time to sit in our rockers together, beating each other with canes to get the other’s attention while we’re blowing bubbles in the nursing home.  But not those cheap, crappy bubbles from Wal-Mart, if I’m going to make myself dizzy, I need more than one bubble at a time.

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