I don’t want to brag, but I got a new toilet this week. Yes, you read that right. A brand new throne that sits a little higher and uses a lot less water than really makes sense to me. You know you’re getting older when a purchase such as this brings so much joy — and I’ve been feeling pretty old lately.
My tiny baby child started high school, and I can’t stop tearing up at inopportune moments. I don’t consider myself particularly sentimental, but when I took Annie to get fitted for her marching band uniform last week, I had to take deep breaths and turn my head away so I could hold it together. I was just doing this myself a few years ago! How can we be here already?
I couldn’t humiliate her by crying in the basement of the school — I have to save parental embarrassment for something funny. Like the time in ninth grade when my dad shoe-polished our van with the words, “Go Holly, #1 Flute Hooter!” and then followed the freshman bus in said van all the way to Austin for State Marching Band Contest. My father is still pretty pleased with himself 28 years later.
Three days after band uniform pick-up, fashion déjà vu hit me right in the legwarmers again. As all ladies know, the first day of school outfit is CRITICAL. Annie knew exactly what she wanted and she found it. Turns out, ‘it’ was a skirt in the identical cut and fabric that I wore on my first date with her dad in 1997. Corduroy A-line mini with tortoise shell buttons down the front.
”How do I look, Etsi?” As if it were even possible for her to be more beautiful. How can she not see it? And how can 22 years have gone by so rapidly? And why does my right hip hurt when I wake up now?
But with the start of a new academic year comes some optimism even for me, and my last first day of school was 21 years ago. I dropped Annie at huge Muskogee High this past Thursday, feigning cheer while trying to keep my voice from cracking and the tears inside my eyelids as I sent her off on a new chapter titled HIGH SCHOOL. She never looked back, which made me happy and sad in equal measure.
Then I hurried home to meet the plumber. Because I am a grownup and we needed a new toilet to replace the one with the broken tank. While Annie is off on new adventures in the cutest skirt ever, I have to “adult” as the Millennials call it.
When the plumber, a fellow Gen Xer, pulled off the old toilet tank, we both got a good laugh. August 1975 was stamped into the porcelain.
“Well,” I bellowed at Steve from Hogle, “at least I’m younger than this toilet!” And just knowing that flushed my aging-apprehensions away.