43 Forever

Note to self:

Remember that when buying underwear, Victoria’s Secret runs large and Gap Body runs small. Mixed those up this week and when I gambled at Potowatomi, my underwear fell to my knees. I won $400 and now those panties are officially “lucky” so I am kind of screwed.
I love that it is summer and that my level of anxiety rarely rises above “panty dilemma.”
This is the first summer since I started teaching that I have a summer job too. I am realizing how much less stress is involved in illustration vs. teaching and it makes leaving teaching seem pretty inviting, except that last week I received two of the most beautiful, hand-bound books in the mail from a student I taught in 2004, with a handwritten note about the impact our years together had on her and I was reminded, yet again, of what important work good teaching is.
It has been a really beautiful summer so far, with pretty weather, but it is all going too fast. Quinn has fallen in love with the local swimming pool, which I go to, reluctantly, as it is filled with current and former students who are lifeguarding or nannying and who I officially apologize to for having to see me in a swimsuit.
My cousin joined me there yesterday and we sat in chairs while Quinn splashed around and Noel and I played “nanny or the mom,” by guessing which ladies were which. Anyone who rocked a bikini and was also clearly the mom made me sigh with envy and hatred. Still, pretty sure, no one passed the “not the nanny test,” who was evenly tan all over.
In a few weeks, I will be the mother of three teenagers, and something about that chokes me all up and makes me keenly aware that in five years they will all be off living their lives and I will just be here. Me and Quinn and Sean. Five years is not long at all and it makes me think about how my grandma used to say the best years of her life were when her kids were growing up.
Today, Elizabeth told me that she wishes she could be fourteen forever. “Maybe up to 21, but that is even too old.” I told her that I hated being fourteen and that I would not return to my twenties for a million dollars, but if I were to freeze time, it would be now (now with way more cash) because I love my life right now.
I love the chaos and the loudness. I love the age gap of the kids and that they are all still home. Luke was gone for the last two weeks and he only texted twice, once to tell me to log off Netflix, and the other to ask for cash.
I wonder what that will be like, when they all live in different places from me and if they will call me ever, just to hear my voice, or of they will think about me during their day.
The older my kids get, the more that I understand motherhood, not as the ultimate job or service or sacrifice, but as the ultimate act of falling in love.

I did rock a bikini when I was twenty three. I was evenly tan all over. I had great hair and eyebrows, to boot.
Still, I did not know how deeply I could love and be loved back, and somehow that has made all of the difference. I guess a full heart trumps a flat belly and at least I know that someone out there makes underwear for folks with bigger hips than mine. Pretty sure that is not how Victoria’s Secret hopes to make women feel sexy, but whatever, it works. Anyway, I got carded today at Trader Joe’s, so there.
When I told Lizzie that I would freeze forty three, she replied, “Yeah? This is the peak?” I told her that I hoped that lots and lots of great things happened from here on out and that I don’t like to think of it as the peak, just as a really exciting chapter, a page turner that I just cannot put down.
She gazed at me as I drove and said, “You look cute, Mom. You got some sun.”
It’s an inside light.

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About kellyinrepeat

mom, wife, artist, writer, teacher, dog lover, pie maker, who believes that all things are possible
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2 Responses to 43 Forever

  1. jgroeber says:

    Oh, thank you. I needed this. The realization that when the youngest is 13 I’ll only have 5 years left and then they may only text me to log off Netflix once they go… well, that’s powerful stuff. Even as I lay in bed attempting to delay the start of this exhausting day, and my youngest yells for me to “wipe my butt!” I have to remember that this time will change faster than I want it to.
    “The ultimate act of falling in love” I will carry that around with me all day to sprinkle on my children like fairy dust whenever they’re driving me crazy, because it’s so easy to forget and the most important thing. This may be one of my favorite reads in months. Thank you so much.
    Now I’m off to play nanny or the mom at the kiddy park up the road! 🙂

    • Thank you for always saying such nice things back to me … To make sure I know that I am not just writing to the air, but to a mom across the universe, who gets it. Xoxoxo k

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