So we attended a little family dinner last night. My in-laws are out of town so my sister in-laws, their husbands and a few close friends took advantage of their absence and clean house to experience a little throw back to our high school days and PAR-TAY. My “single” sister in law brought a “friend”, as we’ll call him for now. He was the perfect gentleman; cleaning up after the kids, showing concern for my sister-in-law’s happiness. He was fooling no one. And clearly she doesn’t much care for him as she chose to introduce him to the rest of us. I must clarify that—yes I’m kidding for Heaven’s sake. I know there are those who forget that this is a humor column. So anyway, the “friend” seemed to fare ok. Perhaps he was just drinking heavily, a not uncommon reaction when exposed to “the family”. We all went through it friend, so have no fear.
Admittedly the “par-tay” was a little more subdued than the old days; a twelve-pack instead of keg and several bottles of decent wine replaced the Bartels & James wine coolers. Instead of Domino’s pizza there was grilled tri-tip—cold tiger shrimp and cocktail sauce instead of Funyuns ®
As I already alluded to, another obvious difference was that in the old days we didn’t attend parties with our kids in tow. In fact, the under twenty crowd far outnumbered the elders. This began a conversation about just how quickly 20 years has gone by. The Thirty-Something Assassin has already checked most of us off his list and those remaining are squarely in the cross hairs. We discussed various topics like sore backs, expanding waistlines, “creaking knee syndrome” and “arm waddle”, also known as “mom arms”.
At one point I actually managed to pull myself up into the Mulberry tree with my eight-year-old boy. This is a tree that I’d climbed quite often and easily in my youth. Someone at ground level advised me not to hurt myself while up there. Sage advice but it was offered a little too late. The effort of actually climbing into the tree was enough to aggravate a slew of bone and muscle groups that have lain dormant for years.
But while we’ve all aged a bit, most of us fully admit to still feeling, albeit only mentally, like we’re seventeen. There is no doubt that most of us still act like it. It’s interesting that while the body continues to age the mind in many ways does not. Life forces us to mature and morph into reasonably responsible members of society and yet when a group of old friends come together the years seem to melt away and we’re suddenly kids again. We laugh about the same immature jokes and topics as we did in high school. Some of us hold our liquor about as well too. We’re parents, homeowners, business owners and still we’re not immune to the doubts and insecurities of youth. We just hide it better.
Another difference is that once upon a time, 10:30 pm was still considered early. Most times the party was just getting good by then. Now the yawns have begun and I’m checking my watch, thinking about what time I have to be up in the morning. There was a time not long ago that we had tired toddlers that needed to get to bed. Most times nowadays they’re wide-awake and ready to go. It’s me that has begun to fade.
As I write this I try to imagine what things will be like once another twenty years slips by. Most of our parents seem to have more energy than we do. I think once the kids are grown and a good night sleep is no longer just a dream, we’ll get our second wind. That’s when the par-tay will really begin.