Got together with one of my oldest and best friends over the past weekend. This is something we’ve done since we were 8-years old. Activities have changed from playing with action figures and watching horror movies and listening to cassette tapes; to drinking beer, watching horror movies and watching music videos on Youtube and reminiscing about those action figures and cassette tapes.
The amount of times we do this has dwindled over the years. Schedules change and get busier, to our younger selves becoming beat up middle-aged selves. Much like Wolverine in Logan, our healing capabilities are dwindling and it takes much longer to get over the run-of-the-mill hangover.
I found myself feeling pretty run down the following Sunday. I don’t like that feeling. The older I get the less time I’ve got left on this rock, and I don’t want to waste one day under the weather because I drank one too many pints with a friend. No matter how many laughs we have. I love spending time with my friend. We’ve been through a lot over the years. Hell, we even had back surgery about a month apart, that’s how close we are. We even go under the knife together. Now that’s friendship.
My 17-year old going on 18 went dress shopping with my mom last Friday. Prom dresses, that is. I don’t think she’s going with an actual date, just with friends. As a dad I found it kind of ridiculous to spend that cash on a dress you’ll wear once. My wife’s prom dress is still hanging in my mom and dad’s basement(yes, we’ve been together that long.) She wore it once and there it hung in a bag from the rafters of a middle class ranch-style home. We offered it up to our daughter. She loves buying mens shirts at thrift stores, so we figured the retro value of its early 90s aesthetic would be a win. It was not.
She knew the dress she wanted, but it was only available in New York or purchased online. I wasn’t crazy about that idea, buying online with no chance to try it on. On a whim my daughter looked online last Thursday while staying over at my mom’s house. She found a dress shop that would have her in for a fitting the next morning, so my daughter and mom headed about 35 miles north and hit up this small town dress shop. She found a beautiful dress and at a significant price decrease(thanks mom.)
Seems like only yesterday I was promising my daughter we’d go for a plane ride when she was sick dealing with an asthma attack. I told my kids anything to keep them comfortable when they were sick. Our middle daughter was sick a lot. We found out she was deathly allergic to cats when she was three. After having an asthma attack the pediatrician recommended getting her tested for allergies. Once we realized what was going on she had a nebulizer and medicine on hand all of the time.
I worried a lot about her. You never knew what would trigger an attack, but you especially knew that being around cats would. There were lots of sleepovers she couldn’t attend because felines were involved. There were lots of trips to get ice cream and to Build-A-Bear to make up for it, too. But sadly, no private plane ride like I’d mentioned. She still brings that one up to this day. Now she’s almost 18, graduating in less than two months and is going to prom in less than that. College in the fall. I might be sad about this for a time.
I took her three hours north for a college visit back in March to Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. It’s a small town close to Mount Pleasant, Michigan. I wasn’t all that impressed with the town, and from what I saw the college looked like your typical small town college. One of her good friends is going there, so I think that has something to do with the choice of her higher education. Her friend wants to be a dental hygienist. They have a good dental school there from what I’ve heard, so that choice makes sense for her. My daughter wants to do something with criminology, or psychology, or social work? She’s not quite sure what she wants to do from what I gather. Maybe criminal psychology, with a minor in social work? I don’t know.
We’re heading into the end game as far as kids being home and reliant on us. The oldest will be heading into her senior year of college, while our middle child will be starting college. Our youngest will be a junior in high school. No more picks ups and drop offs, or questions as to what we’re having for dinner. No family vacations or Saturday night trips to the mall and post-Christmas shopping trips.
Things keep changing, while I seem to stay the same. I miss when the kids were younger. Not like toddlers or babies, but 9, 10, 11-years old. When renting videos and grabbing a pizza was the bees knees, man. Late night movies and Beyblade wars on the living room floor. Sitting in the parking lot of the Wagon Wheel Playhouse listening to NPR in the van, waiting for my oldest to get off her shift of working in the box office. Then stopping for a couple pints of Ben and Jerry’s before heading home.
Where we’re at now feels like we’ve made it to the top of the first big hill on a rollercoaster. We’re in the back car with the rest of the cars rolling over that hump that’s nearly a 90 degree drop into the unknown. Or maybe this is the second big drop. Or the third. Either way, things have felt like a slow crawl to this point. It felt like a change when our oldest graduated high school nearly three years ago, but we still had two kids at home going thru the high school and first job thing. But now that we’re looking at two kids out of high school this little portion of the universe we call our lives definitely seem to be in some kind of emotional flux.
Our miniature schnauzer Otto will be 11-years old this year, too. For some reason that puts me in as much of an emotional tail spin as the kids becoming full-fledged adults. Otto has been with us for over a decade. He’s been that emotional glue that brought us all together. We had two dogs before him, but those were my wife and I’s dogs. They were around before kids. Otto, while I think he may favor the wife and I, loves all the kids. In dog years I guess he’s technically an elder to them, so maybe he now sees it as his duty to look out for the kids.
Or maybe he just wants them to give him a treat.
Lucky for us Otto is as spry as he was when he was a pup, he just sleeps a little better now. For a 77-year old I’d say he’s doing damn good. Maybe even better than the 47-year old typing this. Either way, he can have all the treats. Because he’s a good boy.
Time to go plan an open house.