Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Our babysitter came over at 5PM and announced that it was her birthday. For a second, I was confused. "Why's she here? Shouldn't she be out celebrating tonight?" I thought.
Then she added, "After I leave here, I 'm going to take a nap and then my friends are taking me out."
Ah, youth. I had nearly forgotten. Then, she nonchalantly mentioned sleep and I remembered. She's 21. She's not a mom.
I found her lack of reverence for sleep breathtaking. She announced taking a nap at night like it was a given. It signified the ability to sleep with abandon, to run fast and lose with it, like a profligate. She might as well have been discussing inhaling and exhaling instead of the exotic treasure to be coveted that sleep has become to me.
She says stuff off the cuff with no idea how it stops me in my tracks. One time, I asked her about her trip home to visit her family. She came out with this beaut, "I only got to lay out once."
Lay out? First, I don't need any more wrinkles, thank you very much, Ms. Flawless Twenty-Something Skin Girl. Second, do you know how much I would give for the time to lie my body in a horizontal position in the sun with the sole responsibility of baking my front and backside evenly?
I think about sharing how different our respective perspectives are, but I know she just wouldn't understand. So I just nod, as if I'm commiserating about the horrible tragedy that befell her while sitting at home and cursing the grey skies above.
I was 21. I understand her. It took her reminder, but I remember. When you're 21, you have long stretches of time to fill at your leisure. Laying out is something you take for granted, tan lines a major preoccupation.
She can't possibly comprehend how something as commonplace as sun-worshipping turns into a huge indulgence for the mom of a toddler. As it should be. Really, I didn't grasp what an overwhelming, non-stop responsibility a child is either, until becoming a mom.
Having a child is like a generation gap separating my babysitter and me.
The funny thing is that I didn't feel jealous of her carefree ways, certainly not about the laying out bit. Being 21 may mean a world of possibility is ahead of you, but I also remember a lot of confusion about what direction to take in life and many missteps along the way.
I can appreciate the privilege of youth without wanting to go back. Rather bizarrely, I felt more rested just thinking about napping after dark.
I am vicariously sleeping. Is there such a thing? There is now.
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Photo Source: Manymeez, Flickr