Making lists has always appealed to me so I am dedicating this blog post to random lists of various subjects. I hope you enjoy it.
My drivers license expired —again.
My sister is getting married in just a few days. This is my older sister, by all of 13 months. Completing the Schwartz sister “triangle” is our much-adored little sister Sally, who was born when we were teenagers. Julie and I were raised kind of like twins, which probably did her more of a disservice than me. We were often clumped together as if we were the same age. To be honest, I don’t think I made it easy on my folks to separate us much. Where she was, I wanted to go and what she did, I tended to follow suit. She did ballet, I did ballet (horribly, by the way). She turned out for gymnastics, I did gymnastics (also rather awfully). She ran track and field, and thus, I did too (I had more success with this one) and so on. Julie had all the qualities I longed for—wit, grace, blonde hair—just to name a few. I, on the other hand, was clumsy, ordinary looking and oh-so uncomfortable being me. We shared an interest in drawing and a serious obsession with fashion magazines, poring over them and then trying to replicate the clothing and even the ads. We played “restaurant,” creating elaborate menus and serving each other bizarre but creative treats made with whatever we could find in the pantry or fridge. Of course it wasn’t all sweetness and light between us. We had wicked fights over clothes…and let’s not forget the time our parents took us jogging at a campus running track and left me there. When it was time to leave, Julie innocently told mom and dad that I was hiding under a blanket in the back of our station wagon and off they went…only to realize their mistake once they pulled into the driveway. Good one, Julie! But these times were fairly rare. We played “Princess and Prince” (my shorter hair usually relegated me to being the Prince), and Barbies. We named the two that most resembled us “Carol” and “Cathy” and had them act out the young adult single life we hoped to one day assume. They lived in a fabulous condo, had cushy jobs that they barely showed up for (I vaguely recall that one of us was a flight attendant) and occasionally had a brief date with Ken, though not surprisingly, our Ken doll was not all that manly. In my girlish naiveté, I honestly thought that one day, she and I might really live like this. But alas—reality always has the last say. Julie ended up spending the majority of her 20s and 30s in Missoula, MT. where she actually did build a “fabulous” career for herself, working various positions before getting into alumni relations for the University of Montana. I visited there from time to time—once for several months after a particularly traumatic break-up. Since then, Julie has been promoted several times and now does alumni relations for Oregon State University in Corvallis. She is by all accounts, a success.
So we’re a little over a month into this deployment and I figured it’s time for an update.
Some kids begin playing soccer…or football…or basketball…around the age of three or four. By the time they are young elementary school students, they are used to eating dinner in the car while being shuttled to practices, and well-versed in waking early on Saturday mornings for games. Then there is us. As I stood on the side of the Harker Heights soccer field this week watching my 8-year-old attempt to maneuver the ball around a series of orange cones, it hit me just how “on the late show” we really are. Most of the other kids had clearly been playing for a few years and it showed in their coordination, agility, and overall confidence out there. (One boy in particular—a strapping and very handsome Aryan-looking kid—had all the grace and poise of a young Pele. And his parents—with their foldable chairs and cooler full of Gatorade—looked like they’d been on a soccer field or two in their time.)
My mother once told me many years ago when I was a teenager that there comes a day in a woman’s life when she becomes, well, a little bit “invisible.”
The change of command is over, one set of my in-laws has left after many hugs and more than a few tears, and Rob’s deployment is only a handful of days away. My mother-in-law kindly stayed on a few extra days so Rob and I could escape to Austin for an overnight. But I don’t need a calendar to realize he’s leaving soon. I know it by the permanent lump in my throat, by the way I’m sleeping (not well) and the general uneasiness that lingers.
Does anyone remember the children’s classic book, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day?” Because that’s been the trend in our household since we returned from our 10-day vacation to Montana.
If you are the mother of boys of a certain age, you might be noticing a few things by now. Mine are 12 and 8 and I am definitely seeing trends that I thought I’d share. (Just to clarify, I grew up with sisters with nary a brother to introduce me to the strange and odiferous world of the young homo sapien male species).