Not sure how to put this, but I’m old.
I don’t always feel old. Sometimes I still feel like I’m in my mid-twenties… until I look in the mirror, or I wake up in the morning and get out of bed, or at the end of the day when I go to bed and I’m so exhausted I feel like I’m 120 years old…
Other than those times, I usually feel okay-ish and way younger than I am.
Or at least younger than my kids think I am.
The other day we had big plans with hubby’s dad & stepmom and the brother-in-law and his family to meet for Sunday brunch.
At Heritage Park. Now for those of you who are reading this and aren’t from Calgary or have never been a tourist in Calgary, Heritage Park is one of those spots that celebrate the pioneers and all things from ‘the olden days’.
Which I found out during this trip, my children seem to think I’m a part of.
We figured it would be a nice Christmassy event for the whole family. I’ve been there tonnes of times with my boys on our own and with school field trips and I always love visiting.
And during the holidays, they do it up so nicely in that cottagey, crafty old-fashioned way that just gets you into the Christmas spirit…
Until your kids start asking you things like, ‘did they have phones when you were a kid, Mom?’
And trying not to choke on my reply, I manage to say, ‘Yes, they did. We had phones when I was a kid, they were just really different than the kind of phones we have now.’
Silence for a beat and then the voice pipes up again, ‘were the phones made of wood, Mom?’
“Nope…. nope, they weren’t… hey look, there’s a horse and wagon. Go see it.’
And leave me to my silent pain you’ve sliced into my heart, kid! I think silently to myself.
And then a little while later, I hear, ‘were the sidewalks wooden when you were little, Mom?’
“Nope. We had concrete sidewalks. Just like we do now.”
“Was your house made of wood?”
And for a second I flashback to my childhood home where my dad fixed up the basement with a leather-padded bar, funky mirrored accents and covered the rest with wooden slats in herringbone patterns over the walls.
Ah, the early ’80’s.
“Um, some of it was made of wood, honey. But mostly it was like the house we live in now.”
We’re in an older neighbourhood where a lot of the houses were built in the ’70’s, so I think maybe now this will relate to my curious and questioning child that mommy isn’t quite from the pioneer days and is in fact a little hip and cool.
“Did you have to start your stove with wood and a match?”
Through gritted teeth, I say no. If that were the case, Mommy wouldn’t have lasted long, that’s for sure!
“Did you wear a bonnet?”
Okay, they didn’t really ask me about the bonnet. But the rest was enough to dampen my good time.
Only briefly. Because then I remembered when I was a kid and I’m sure there were at least a dozen times when I asked the same thing of my Mom and Dad. I would look through their old black and white pictures; I’d laugh at their crazy clothes they wore in the ’60’s and ’70’s.
I remember my mom back in something like 1986 telling me that one day my kids would look back at the clothes I wore as a teenager and laugh.
The ’80’s ruled, man.
Seriously though, how many times did I ask my folks to tell me about the ‘old days?’ Or when they were telling a story about when they were kids, I’d say, ‘Oh, did that happen in the olden days?’
It was funnier once I was an adult and we’d joke together about the ‘black and white’ days.
From my perspective anyway.
Maybe it was never as funny for them.
I’m sure they weren’t too impressed when I dissed their glory days with a typically clueless 8-year-oldish question about whether they had power when they were kids. I remember being stunned that they didn’t even have TV as children.
I’m sure my kids will be appalled when they come to realize that back in my day we actually had to move our asses off the couch to turn the channel on the TV.
What hardship! How in the world did we survive?!?
Back to Heritage Park.
We’re on our way out of the park, and moseyed into one last historic house and I called the boys over and showed them an old-fashioned viewer. Like a View-Finder, but… older. Way older.
And I told them, ‘hey! We have this at home! My mom used to have it when I was little and then she gave it to me!’
And I could almost hear the wheels turning inside their little heads and the unifying thought coming from all three of them, ‘suuuuure you didn’t have a wooden phone. Whatevuuuur!’
Time to go home, kids.
Get in the van and don’t let my walker trip you on your way out of the park.