A few weeks ago a group of folks at church started up a new class (our church has traditionally been a little slower at these sorts of things) for what they were terming 'young marrieds.' The two couples who were putting the class together made sure we knew we were invited and that they really hoped we would join in.
When Andy told me about the class, I wondered aloud if they knew how old we are. Did they want us to come and be mentors? Seriously, some of the 'young marrieds' at our church could be our children--and I wouldn't have had to be a teen mom, either. Andy assured me that they just think of us as young and, since we still have young kids (again, I wished I knew how to raise just one eyebrow), they thought we would fit right in.
We went to the first meeting of the class. A dozen couples went around and introduced themselves. They had all been married less than ten years old and had kids no more than ten years old--even the ones who admitted to having kids before the whole marriage certificate thing. Most couples had at least one baby in diapers and some had babies right there in the church library with them. Andy and I were seated at the far end of the room and went last. We have been married eighteen years and have the kids to show for it. A shockwave went through the room at this revelation and the other couples giggled nervously. Which one of these is not like the others?
This evening, I presented my daughter, my baby, with a diploma signifying the end of elementary school. She is now a middle school kid. My son is on a camping trip with his youth group at church this weekend, but when he returns, we will hand him a middle school diploma. He starts high school in the fall. I am in a bit of shock over these facts, and I decided to turn here, to my trusty blog to type out my thoughts. Writing here is how I have processed most big things in my life for the last seven years.
When I opened up my blog, however, I was slapped in the face by the title I chose for it in the spring of 2004: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mom.
How long can I legally hold on to that moniker? How long can I convince myself and others that I am really just a young mom? I am forty-one years old and have a middle school and a high school kid. I'm married to a middle aged man. He's married to a middle aged woman. Who am I kidding?
When I was technically a young mom, other 'older moms' would come and speak to my MOMS support group and tell us that the time passes quickly and that we should treasure the time that they are little, even though it is often so wearying.
They were right.
I am the one, now, who speaks these same words to young moms.
This is all so crazy.