Remember when you were young and your biggest problem was your mom calling you inside before you were ready to come in? That was a major problem of mine too, but my actual biggest problem was getting my next door neighbor, Joel Wisuri to fall in love with me. And my spending every waking moment with him was integral to the hopes of love developing. Come to think of it, getting boys to fall in love with me still seems to be one of my biggest problems. But I digress.
This occurred to me the other day while driving down the dirt road of my youth and passing a gated off area—it has been gated off since childhood, but that didn’t stop us from breaking in anyway and sledding on the smallish hills. I remembered vividly going to that hill, sleds in tow with Joel and my brother Jordan and being delighted when Joel and I went down in the sled once together and I had to hold onto his waist, to which he didn’t even object.
He did, however, object to my advances a few years later when I confessed during a game of Truth or Dare that if I had a choice of anyone in the world to marry I’d choose him. My sister (who was in the sixth grade at the time) chose Bruce Willis. I should’ve followed her lead and chosen my celeb crush who was the more conventional Brad Pitt, as Joel ignored me the rest of my high school career for that brazen move. Eh, I always was a dive head first kinda gal.
Joel is now happily married, so clearly it’s terrific that he didn’t listen to me. Also let the record state that if you have a penis, I’m not related to you—well… I did have a crush on my cousin, Spencer when I was in the second grade, but it was prior to my being informed that was frowned upon—and you’ve—no matter how fleetingly—crossed paths with me: I’ve most certainly had a crush on you. So the likelihood that my childhood crush was my match is the same likelihood that I won’t have a crush on the cashier at Bed, Bath and Beyond just because he has a beard and smiled vaguely in my direction. Of course I had a crush on him! Did you hear the beard part? Also I checked for a ring and he didn’t have one. So yeah. The crush is well founded.
My point is that the problem of winning over Joel was hardly a problem at all and in truth my childhood can be described as pretty idyllic. Besides being the oldest of a zillion little brothers and sisters that I helped tend to, I was mostly left to my own devices which were books and planning my grandiose love stories. Before I even moved to Fowlerville and met Joel I had been living in a duplex in Howell where new neighbors were constantly moving in and out of the apartment upstairs.
One family had two girls my age named Jackie and Jessica. The thing is they must’ve been sweet and wholesome girls as I remember sharing a mutual love of horses and my mom let me sleepover upstairs (and my mom has never been keen on sleepovers) frequently. But what I remember more than our propensity to name our future horses, were Jackie and Jessica’s fancy pajamas.
When I would sleep over they would give me a choice of one of their nighties. They had a red one and a white one. Both were lacey and impossibly provocative. This was before I even knew what provocative was, and so all I thought when I saw these fancy lace pajamas were medieval princesses wore these numbers and how cool their mom was to let them sleep in such splendor.
Later I would come to realize that the girls weren’t in possession of medieval princess pajamas. Jackie and Jessica had simply been given their mother’s castoff lingerie. It doesn’t matter though. These pajamas took me to a place that felt decadent and luxurious and beautiful. Again, the only problem here was how to get my parents to buy me lingerie at eight-years-old.
Today? Well besides the fact that I cannot afford lingerie even if I wanted to sleep in it, which I don’t—I have been sleeping in the same pink worn cotton nightshirt with a fat cat on it that says ‘Nutritional Overachiever’ for about a decade now. It has a hole at the bottom and is so beloved that when the shirt eventually falls apart one day I will weep as if I were actually losing a fat cat and not just a cotton nightie—and men still let me put my arms around their waist but then have no interest in dating me. Like childhood, these problems aren’t my real problems at all.
Normally my biggest grievance is my inner tube-esque midsection and even that hardly aggravates me like it used to.
No my real adult problems are far worse than whether or not I look like a medieval princess for bed or bagging a bearded gent, or even minimizing my girth. No these days it’s debilitating self-doubt combined with mountains of debt all while grappling with the realization that life is definitely akin to scaling Everest, and even if you do make it all the way to the top, you probably lost all your toes and are somewhat insane from the ascent.
But here’s the beauty in it all. Sure childhood is ignorant bliss. And yes adulthood nearly drives you to drink. In fact, it begs it of you at every turn. Actually that is one of my favorite parts of adulthood. The access to champagne and fancy beers in frosted mugs. But seriously, I digress yet again.
Yeah adulthood sometimes feels like more than I can handle, but then I remember how sage and terribly cool—if carrying your board game collection in your car and spending more money on coffee than pants makes one cool—I’ve gotten in my old age and how cotton cat pajamas really are way better than negligees and having a love affair with the mountains feels more satisfying to me than a man ignoring me for Sports Center.
Hmmm. Maybe adulthood isn’t so bad after all. Except I have to renew my license plate tabs and call the bank and figure out some student loan issues… Ew. But hey, I can drive to the mountains whenever I feel like and sleep on my trampoline without asking permission so, you win some, you lose some.