Observations from a Closet Grandma
I spent my weekend in Gainesville, Fl. Because all good Floridians must pledge allegiance to the Seminoles or the Gators, and because I just happen to think orange and blue are more complimentary, I’m a proud Gator fan. That, and if I chose anything else, my marriage would not be one made in heaven on college football Saturdays.
I’ve been anxious to make my pilgrimage to the swamp for a long time so when my best friend’s brother told us he had some student tickets available, we jumped at the chance. I was a little bit excited about the sitting in the “student” section. I felt like a rebel considering I was never a student at UF. Instead, I chose a small university located on a nature preserve close to the beach so I could properly maintain my hippie roots. That, and there was a small part of me that wanted to be within a reasonable driving distance to my mom.
Pulling onto her brother’s college apartment complex was an instant buzz kill. Despite attempts at trying to hide my people-watching hobby, it was impossible to wipe away the look of judgment I know I gave to every barely dressed, over-primped co-ed that walked by me. I went from hip mom to…well…feeling like my mom…in 60 seconds flat.
My experience at the game in the coveted student section made me even more aware of the fact my college apartment days were long gone. I stood there eyeing every student like they were a swine flu carrier, making sure to keep my distance.
I’m not EXACTLY sure what happened in the game. There may have been a few good plays, possibly a shut out, and a win by my beloved swamp creatures. It was difficult to see beyond the sea of so-called adults, so obnoxiously enamored with their hair, clothes, foul language, and each other apparently.
I left the game proud of my team, but less than impressed by the lucky ones who will one day call themselves alumni. So below-I am attaching a few weekend observations that I’ll reflect on as I go forth and prosper-and that I’ll keep in mind when my little girl is weighing her college options:
First things first: I am a diva
Yes, I am a diva. I spent most of my adolescence working for whatever I needed or wanted because my family was the proud definition of middle class. But somehow along the way, I’ve become a diva. I do not like the student section, I do not like standing for a 3-hour football game, I do not like wading through sweaty “boys” and heavily perfumed girls just to get to a hotdog. I do not like hearing college kids yell profanities because they were too drunk to pay attention in English class so they could expand their vocabulary options. I looked across the field at the box seats and felt envy boil up inside. I’m going to go ahead and claim the diva realization motivated me even more professionally, because at some point in the future, I am going to need a box seat.
I am a 50-year old trapped in an almost 30-year-old body
I’m a bonafide grandma. My own mother has a younger mind than I do, and it makes me wonder how I ever got like this. Well even as a college student, I still had an old mind and I could never be quite “carefree.” A blessing and a curse perhaps, but enough to give me a jiminy cricket style conscience and keep me out of trouble. I constantly found myself asking, “does their mother know they’re wearing that? What would their parents say if they saw that?” I’m a little embarrassed by my mental thought process.
Our world might possibly be in trouble 20 years from now
These kids were smart, no doubt. UF is a tough school with tough programs, but I’ll admit, I was a little bit scared thinking that these kids will possibly be leading our world in just a short while. Once again, I am 50 in my mind. Where were the voices? The one of a kind movers and shakers? They do exist, but what the blue and orange splatter paint of mediocrity taught me is that it’s going to take a shade of yellow, or red, or green to stand out. The next generation of leaders is out there, they just might be harder to find and they need to recognize in themselves before anyone else does.
Last and MOST CERTAINLY not least, my daughter will not be going to college and I’ve begun my research on the most appropriate convent for her
Ok, perhaps I am all talk, and I would be over the moon if she chose to go to UF so I could actually have some claim to my fandom. That doesn’t change the fact that her next 15 years flashed before my eyes in a single weekend and the thought of boys, driving, and parties made me want to convince her that agoraphobia is a perfectly acceptable lifestyle. But I definitely don’t want that for her. Really in a word, I think I just want her to be bold. I think that’s what I want for every girl who tries to blend in because it seems easier.
Easy won’t change the world, it’ll keep it just the way it is, and for my girl, that’s just not good enough.
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