jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

Letting the Days Go By (Same As It Ever Was)

Do you remember the movie Big? Or maybe 13 Going on 30? 17 Again? Any of these sugar-coated yummy morsels ringing a bell? The premise is you get covered in glitter or nabbed by a spooky mechanical fortune teller and POOF, you’ve switched places in time.

So there I was, in my office (otherwise known as the playground) sitting and talking to a Mama friend about this and that, how we do it, why we do it, at what point the eight-year-old boys our quirky five-year-olds were maniacally chasing would actually turn around and punch one of them. Stuff like that.

And my gorgeous babysitter showed up, like a vision rising over the horizon, all legs and the glistening long blonde hair that only occurs naturally when you’re 21 years old. I passed her the keys to my condemned minivan with the tape measure and BFF tags in exchange for her braided leather cord and the keys to her little Nissan sedan or whatever. I should have asked first because I literally tried three cars in the parking lot, climbing into one that had apparently been left unlocked, only to find it wasn’t hers, or mine, if you know what I mean.

image

This is not my car
May 2014

Because when I finally got the key into the right starter, tapped the dangling owl on the rearview mirror and inhaled the vanilla scent of her boho air fresheners, free of car seats and muddy kids’ boots and a toilet in the trunk, well, something changed in me. Call it déjà vu all over again or wishful thinking, but honestly, for a moment I was transported. I was 21 again and beautiful.

I was leaving a babysitting job for which I’d actually gotten paid, and was roaring off into the back streets totally unencumbered. The local indie station was playing a tad too loudly and the windows were already down, because… well, why not leave your windows down? What’s the worst thing that could happen? I swear, for a moment my wrinkles went away. I was like a Bruce Springsteen song, the happy kind.

It only lasted for about ten seconds, but I swear it was real. I was 21 again, and not the crappy kind of 21 that constantly wondered what my ex-boyfriend was doing or if I’d ever get a job or why all my college roommates had chosen to work near each other but not near me. I was the 21 that took the corners too fast and let her hair blow all over the place.

I’m not saying this is a thing I crave. Most days I’m perfectly content to be dishevelled Mom-on-the-go. If I’m feeling particularly old I work some funky raincoat and cool sunglasses and pretend I’m Mrs. Robinson, but with none of the skanky inappropriate stuff.

You know, I get by.

I’m just saying that if you were driving down the back roads in the next town over yesterday, and you happened to see an adorable 21-year-old blonde rocking out to indie music in her non-descript but practical car (sans car toilet), and you thought, “Hey, that girl looks a lot like Jen.”

Well, maybe, just maybe, it was me.

IMG_0548

Baby not on board
May 2014

(P.S. I did consider the ramifications of this spectacular momentary exchange. Somewhere on a wood chip covered playground my gorgeous babysitter rounded up a posse of stinking children who didn’t listen when she called to them and who complained all the way to the car. Then she carted them off to a minivan with a toilet in the back. And for a moment, she likely thought, “Is this my life? How do I work this? Where is that large automobile? Did I somehow suddenly become the owner of this diaper bag on wheels and the mother of these snot-covered kids?”

And my answer to her?

Yes. Yes, you did.)

And you may ask yourself

What is that beautiful house?

And you may ask yourself

Where does that highway go to?

And you may ask yourself

Am I right?… Am I wrong?

And you may ask yourself

My God!… What have I done?!…

 

Letting the days go by

Let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by

Water flowing underground

Into the blue again

After the money’s gone

Once in a lifetime

Water flowing underground

 

Same as it ever was…

Same as it ever was…

~Talking Heads

Advertisements

21 comments on “Letting the Days Go By (Same As It Ever Was)

  1. meridith
    June 2, 2014

    The toilet in the back. Yes. This changes everything. I say to get in cute little wrinkle-relieving owl car as often as humanly possible!

    • jgroeber
      June 11, 2014

      Yes! Who doesn’t need a toilet in the back?!

  2. David Van Buren
    June 2, 2014

    Home run. I was honored to know the 15-going-on-45 version of you.

    Life DOES go on.

    “Get busy living or get busy dying.” TSR

    “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t slow down, you might just miss it.” FBDO

    Thanks for helping me slow down and get busy living. You are awesome. Have a GREAT day.

    • jgroeber
      April 23, 2015

      OMG! Look what I just found. A comment I never replied to. Duh. That’s what happens when they let novices have their own blogs. And the fact that I figured out that TSR is Shawshank fills me with infinite pride.
      Sounds like you got busy living life in Santa Fe. Bravo! (Or is it Ole?)

  3. Shannon Ellis
    June 2, 2014

    I love it. I’m going to “trade places” with someone soon. Because the freedom of that moment with the windows down, that is worth remembering! Thank you again for letting me peek into your beautiful thoughts.

    • jgroeber
      June 11, 2014

      Thank you for your comment. Trading places is probably a good idea in general, right? Trying someone else’s shoes and all that? And sometimes (in the case of a gorgeous 21 year-old babysitter) it can be a joyous relief. Ha!

  4. Burns the Fire
    June 2, 2014

    Your mind is a beautiful house.

    I could say more but I have a reputation for keeping it short.

  5. Perfection Pending
    June 2, 2014

    Oh man. I would definitely be pretending I was her too. But, her life is probably way more boring than we think it is. At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself! 🙂

    • jgroeber
      June 11, 2014

      You should see her. And meet her. Even her boring is just gorgeous. (Although all the fears and self-doubts I had when I was twenty-one… I can definitely live without those. Way ickier than the ones I have at forty-three!)

      • Perfection Pending
        June 11, 2014

        That’s true. I’ve grown so much since that age, I don’t think I’d go back. 🙂

  6. momasteblog
    June 2, 2014

    I savored this post like the last gumdrop. . . I totally get it.

    • jgroeber
      June 11, 2014

      Lovely, lovely comment. Thank you for that.

  7. Margie S
    June 3, 2014

    Had a college deja vu moment with the song – love that song and The Talking Heads. The thing is, you can’t be 21 and not have all of those anxieties. Glad you were able to escape and enjoy your 21 year old version.

    • jgroeber
      June 11, 2014

      Yes, yes, so true. As I typed it, I remembered those horrible 21 year-old fears. I wouldn’t trade in for those for anything.

  8. michellebellah
    June 3, 2014

    The other day I noticed wrinkles on my LEGS. I bet those would go away in a cool little Nissan. I just bet they would.

    • jgroeber
      June 11, 2014

      Ha! Me, too! I was running in tight running shorts and I was shocked to notice my knees. I have to keep remembering to celebrate this slow tumble into decay so that my kids don’t hate the thought of aging (especially my lovely girls… I want them to know all powerful women are phenomenal women, no matter their age or shape.) But I still have to say, MY KNEES ARE WRINKLING LIKE ELEPHANTS?! Really? Was that necessary, Gravity?

  9. kellylmckenzie
    June 5, 2014

    it’s working! I’ve got Once In a Lifetime cranked up and man alive I’m right back there with you. No dog hair infestation, no random lonely socks, no bowls of half eaten oatmeal or crumpled bags littered with crumbs… Heaven. Thank you. Thank you.

    • jgroeber
      June 11, 2014

      Yay! Same as it ever was. And it reminds me of summer a little, too. Also, it reminds me of working at the Limited during the summer, which is a memory best left forgotten. But still. Summer in the 80’s for just a moment? YES!

  10. Jenn Berney
    June 9, 2014

    Ha, I’m finally catching up with this post now and it’s funny because I was entertaining a daydream just last week about how fun it would be to be twenty-something again for about two weeks. I don’t want to live there or anything, but it would make a great vacation.

    • jgroeber
      June 11, 2014

      It would make a great vacation. What would you do?! I might stare in the mirror at my unwrinkled forehead and gloriously small pores for about two days. Also, I would get a better dentist and invest in Apple. I’d hang out with my father and take a buttload of pictures of him and I together even though he’d hate it. I’d definitely go for a run just to enjoy my young knees. And I think I’d take pictures of my boobs. Then I could return back to now pretty happy.

What? I'm totally listening. Tell me. No, really, tell me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on June 1, 2014 by in Surviving Motherhood, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,318 other followers

Follow jen groeber: mama art on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: