AARP Already? by Peggy Bogaard-Lapp
In today’s mail I received an invitation to join “over 5 million people” in a widely known group. Sounds soo tempting! These are some cool people, they have money, travel, have purchasing power and political leverage. Well, all this aside, I’m just not ready to join AARP! How can I have a pre-teen and also be on the “honor roll” for retired (or soon to be) American citizens? AGH! Yes, I have found lately that I need “cheaters,” eyeglasses to read the fine print on labels, and wake up each morning to the sound of creaking (joints, that is). But really, I’M NOT THAT OLD!! I can remember when my mom – MY MOM- received her invitation… but she was 55. Even that was premature. Now they push it at you before you even hit 50. C’mon people, if 50 is the new 30, why are you after me?
Summer vacation is winding down, and I will be going back to work in a week. The thought of being around 100 kindergarteners each day, especially at lunchtime when the noise level is high and the lunches are smelly, doesn’t quite thrill me, but I am ready for a change. Three month of having absolutely no alone time away from a ten year old has taken it’s toll on my sanity. This summer has been the hardest, and I know it’s because Erica is testing the waters on how far she can go. Funny how she wants to be older, and I want to be, well, just my age. At the same time, she is after me to replace the Step 2 swing set that she outgrew with some kind of club house, sort of a secret hideout. There is nothing on the market for kids her age, so I’m looking into having a shed built and customizing it. Yeah, until I saw the cost, that was a pretty good idea! For now, the tire swing her dad put up will have to do until I find someone really good with a hammer and saw.
Working in an elementary school has it’s advantages. I get the same days off Erica does, so I don’t need child care. I look at the schedule and overall we work 184 days, but there is rarely a week that we go all five days, full days. My work hours usually let me leave about an hour before school ends, and I’m looking forward to having that quiet time, even if it’s going to the grocery store alone! I do everything I can to not shop with my child – anywhere – since she is quite aware of where to find the toys, the candy, the school supplies, and each visit ends in frustration when I have to say “no.” And I have to say it a lot. She argues that she has her own money to spend, and that is true. She has been earning an allowance all summer long, and I have to say that is the one thing that has really worked well. Of course, it’s only because she is so interested in Monster High dolls and acquiring every last one of them that drives her to do the chores on the list that gets her the cash. I love that she is interested in dolls, plays with them daily, and is not just aimlessly wandering the internet looking for entertainment. In our basement there is an entire Monster High world, and she has been very creative with setting it all up. I see her doing the same things I did with Barbies, only these dolls don’t change clothes and they don’t come with a lot of accessories. What they do have is an internet life – YouTube videos of stop motion mini movies. Pretty cool, if it’s done right, and absolutely like nothing I ever did when I was 10. She has made a few of her own, and I can see her creativity along with everyone else. Her generation has some wonderful advantages with technology and connecting to the world. I just hope AARP doesn’t sneak into her iMailbox until she’s at least 35.