The other day, I was doing my typical 45-minute-through-Toronto-traffic commute home when a Nirvana song came on the radio. All of a sudden, I was whisked back to my high school days, and before I knew it, I was almost at K’s daycare. I stopped at a red light and suddenly a wave of panic came over me. “How did I get here?”, I thought. But here’s the kicker: I wasn’t worried about the fact that I had mindlessly driven through traffic without paying attention. The thing that scared me was something so much more frightening that it actually took my breath away. How on earth did I become a 30-something mom, wife, professional, homeowner, responsible woman when in reality, I was still this awkward, funny yet slightly nerdy teenager inside? How is it that I remember those days like it was yesterday, and I don’t feel much older or different now than I did more than 15 years ago? How did I get myself in this situation, where I worry about things like bedwetting and behaviour issues, rather than who would be my next crush or what CD to buy with my next allowance? I thought about how much easier my life was back then, with no responsibilities, no cares in the world, and a wicked metabolism. I became really, really jealous of my 15-year-old self. I wanted to be her again…even just for a day. To have no kids, no house, no job…just friends and teenage crushes.
The next morning, as I was wrestling a screaming Kailyn into her car seat, I heard a loud bang. As I looked up (and noticed that K had mashed muffin crumbs into my sweater during the struggle), I saw the teenage girl who lives across the street storm out of her house. A moment later, her mother came out, yelling and waving the girl’s lunch bag in her hand. The girl stopped on the sidewalk, turned around and screamed, “I don’t want my lunch, Mom! I hate you!!”. It was right then that I decided I was pretty OK with being me. While 15-year-old Colleen didn’t have all of the responsibilities that I have, it wasn’t easy then either. The social anxiety, the raging hormones, the desire to be independent without the means to do so…that was pretty rough, too. So, right there in my driveway, I made peace with adult Colleen, and promised myself to try and enjoy every moment, since life really does go so fast. And then I whispered to Kailyn, “you’d better never do that to mommy”. To which she very seriously replied, “OK Mommy” and then kissed me. Yeah, it isn’t so bad being me after all.