To be thirteen again.

Although the calendar still says May, it must be summer already.  The littles spent the afternoon in swimsuits, hosing each other (and every vertical surface) with ice cold water and making mud pies. Well, Ella made one mud pie which started out as a soggy mud ball and ended as clay.  They are so happy being outside.  It has been a touch unseasonable to the point that I almost turned the AC on today.  It’s way too early for that but I almost couldn’t take it.

I sat in my lawn chair, reading “In defense of Food“, (Sidenote: I believe that everyone who shops in “western” grocery stores to eat a “western” diet ought to read it.  He’s the same guy who wrote “The Omnivore’s Delimma”.  Fascinating.  I wonder what he eats.), drinking my unsweetened iced tea and watched them run through the sprinkler head on the garden hose.  They squealed and made messes, only coming to me to get sips from their juice pouches.

Life is good.

No really, it is.  And…tomorrow I get to make The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls.  Ever since I saw the pics on her blog (see blogroll…no really…go there…she is amazing…and I’d give my left whatever to live her life…calf nuts and all) I have been wanting real cinnamon rolls.  I predict that I will be full of butter and puffed up with doughy goodness by this time tomorrow.

What is it about warm weather that makes me crave 80’s rock ballads and metal riffs?  It’s the same craving for the dry, cool sand at night at the state lakes.  I have an urge to hit a tennis ball and I smell pizza.  Or, I smell like pizza…I’m not sure.

My parents used to manage a pizza restaurant.  I was raised there, right or wrong.  My mom started as a waitress making $2.01 an hour (plus tips) and ended up co-managing with my dad seven years later.  I was 6 years old when she started and a freshman in college when they quit.  I started working at the restaurant, going to work with my mom on Saturday mornings, when I was 12.  I started waiting tables at 13 and by the time my 16th birthday hit, I was ready for a different job.  One that wasn’t so…family.

The best thing about working from an early age (other than the cash which was much better paying than babysitting) was the exposure to high school and college kids.  To me, they were everything.  Smart and funny and dating each other and parties.  I got to go see them in the high school musicals.  I got an appreciation for late 70’s and early 80’s “classic” rock.  Oh, if only I was old enough to own my very own Dodge Daytona or Ford Mustang II. 

I thought I was so grown up even though I know now that I was just a little kid.  Breaking all kinds of child labor laws, I’m sure.  In hindsight, I was their mascot.  I could work hard.  I took direction.  I stayed out of their way.  Didn’t show up at their parties.  Never tried to date any of them (that they know of…I still live with the memories of my earliest crushes…I was in 8th grade and they were in 10th).  13 years old.  A baby.

If I could tell my younger self anything, I would not have gone to work.  I would have stayed a kid for a year or two longer.  I got hooked on being older; the whole building forgot that I was so young.  I got attached to having my own walking around money but no direction on how to spend (or save) it.  By the time I went to college, I was tired of working.  I was ready for a mini-retirement.  (It lasted a semester and then I took a job…as a waitress.)

Mostly I remember the summers.  Detasseling.  Tennis lessons and tournaments.  Smelling like cheese and marinara sauce and ranch dressing and meatballs.  Sweat dripping down my back on those summer nights when the take out phone would not stop ringing.  And then the music.  Poison.  Aerosmith.  Motley Crue.  Van Halen.  Skid Row. (Later, in my high school days it was Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers…oh how the world had changed.)

Do you ever miss another time in your life?  Most people say that they would not do Junior High (or Middle School) over again, ever.  I would.  In a heartbeat.  The music was good.  I could get behind the fashion (tight roll jeans, anyone?).  I had a tan and a good haircut and a black and teal bike that I bought with my very own money.  I had a boyfriend and had been to first base but that was pretty much it.  I never watched the news and didn’t care what I ate.  In fact, I don’t remember television at all.  My grades were good and I liked school.  I had found my crowd and we all stayed together in various mutations until high school graduation.

I miss it.  But something about the music…I’d do it all again.

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