Last night, my friend Currie and I sat under one of the cabanas at a picnic table while we observed Youth Night at the pool. Kids aged 10-18 could come out, listen to the hired DJ spin tunes, enter the “splash” contest, eat pizza, dance to “The Cupid Shuffle” and “Cotton Eye Joe,” and just generally have fun with their friends. Watching the kids intermingle was a hoot, as was the fact that Currie and I were “tush dancing” or “bench dancing” the entire time.
We’ve all heard the saying “youth is fleeting.” It’s true. I wanted to capture that moment for my two children who were gallivanting around the pool, cavorting with friends, and shout “hold on to this moment; childhood memories should be cherished.” If I could have bottled up that moment for them, I would have. Think of how many childhood memories you have stored up in your own bottle? Aren’t you glad you chose to remember them?
I realized last night in a moment of clarity of thought, that my youth is over. Caput. It has been for years, but we often live vicariously through both our memories and our children’s experiences. As Currie and I were—to use a term appropriate for my age—grooving—we stopped and laughed at ourselves. We are old, we thought. And our youth is over. We are middle-aged women, with pre-teenaged kids. Should we be bench dancing, giggling, and acting like the youth that surrounds us?
In the words of Sarah Palin, “You betch-ya.”
It was fun. For a while. But by 9:30 p.m., after two and a half hours, the middle-aged mom in me came back to reality. I returned to my mommy duties, laid down the law, and got them home to bed.
Before I tucked them in, I said, “You two know you’re lucky, right? First, that your pool has an event like this, and second, that you get to attend an event like this. I don’t remember youth night at my pool when I was young. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Always remember how much fun you had.”
They both nodded, and went to bed. Exhausted.
I really did mean what I said. I really did.
And because I meant and mean every word I have just said, I decided to end this poignant post with a quote from a very noteworthy, poignant individual: Keith Richards, of The Rolling Stones. (Youth-ink it’s funny? You can stop laughing now.) His words are actually quite brilliant. He said, “We age not by holding on to youth, but by letting ourselves grow and embracing whatever youthful parts remain.”
Thank you, Keith, for that, and for validating that even middle-aged women have the divine right to bench dance if they want.