Last week I went to Holiday World with my kids and my husband in our minivan. Yes, Holiday World, a kiddie amusement park. A place that I always swore that I would never, ever, ever go in my whole life. Funny how having kids changes your perspective on things. I never understood how parents did crazy things like use precious vacation days and pay $110 to get into an amusement park and be happy to do it, just because it makes their kids happy. But now I understand.
The weather was fantastic. It was not crowded because most schools hadn’t let out yet–only a handful of parents with young kids and a bunch of teenagers on their 8th grade graduation trip. It was freaky clean so I didn’t have to worry (as much) about my kids getting a vile disease from the grip bar on the Scrambler. It was fun, it really was. Our kids were ecstatic and we decided that maybe we are amusement park people after all. I was having a great day.
At one point, I was walking along with my friend Laura, and she said, God, can you believe that we are 40? All of these teenagers are laughing at us. WHAT??? Laughing at us? Laughing at ME? Then I realized how I must look to them with my bent-up straw cowboy hat, my I’m still cool at 40 t-shirt (yeah, right), my capris that, according to Adam Glassman in Oprah magazine, are exactly the wrong length for me, and my tennis shoes and crew socks. Pushing an empty stroller strewn with sippy cups, SPF 50 sunscreen and wet wipes.
Then it hit me: Karma had come and bitten me right in the butt. I had a sudden flashback of being on Spring Break in New Orleans with my roommate and getting into a verbal altercation with a woman at a bar. When we left, we stood outside the plate glass window and taunted her with hand motions that said, Me 22, You 44 over and over again. Yes, big exaggerated movements where I would point to myself and put up 2 fingers on each of my hands and then point to her and put up 4 fingers on each of my hands. Over and over. Yes, I really did that. I am not proud. And I feel soooo bad for that woman now. What if she was really only 38 or 40 at the time? What if she was on a date with a man that she was trying to impress? What if she was already having a really hard time coming to grips with getting older? The fact that I had consumed 4 Hurricanes doesn’t alleviate my guilt. What if some young girl did that to me?
I realized that hypothetically being laughed at by teenagers isn’t the worst thing that could happen to me and enjoyed the rest of the day with my family and friends being a happy, uncool 40-year-old mom with snot on my shirt at an amusement park.