I have a birthday coming up. One I have dreaded for many years, the way Meg Ryan dreads the age of 40 in 'When Harry Met Sally.'
I've already declared this year a non-event. We won't be celebrating my birthday, but if you would like to give gifts in honor of my awesomeness, feel free.
Friday, I wore my floppy straw hat (that I love) and my khaki capris (that I love) and my new tennes shoes (that I love) to walk my paper route. Along the way, on the other side of the street, I passed 3 teenage boys, probably about 14, in the typical shorts and black t-shirts and trucker hats. One had no shirt, but had tucked it in his back pocket. And they decided to be cool and heckle me.
And I completely ignored them, but it seriously worked me up. I got hot and shaky. It was stupid.
But that's how groups of high schoolers have always affected me, even when I WAS a high schooler. I hate being under the critical eye of a group of 14-18 year old somethings - no matter what the situation.
I've dealt with this before. I don't understand how I can not care what the elderly lady frowning at my children thinks, how I can not care what the home-schooling mom thinks of me sending my kids to public preschool (not even private, but public, gasp), how I can not care what the middle-aged woman around my mother's age thinks when she sees the latest dress I bought..... but I can't get passed what high schooler's think of me.
I am close to twice the age of some of those kids (which is not helping my aging problem). I have had a mortgage, bought 2 cars, birthed 3 kids, and helped one child through her first year of preschool. I keep a house clean, put food before my family 3 times a day, balance a budget, lead worship in church, and create Sunday School lessons for my sons. I have a wonderful husband of almost 9 years who is my best friend, loudest supporter, kindest critic, and strongest motivator for me to be a better person. I handle more responsibility than these 14 year old boys can even imagine as they walk shirtless on a sprinkly, June day - and yet they make me feel small, insignificant, stupid and about as uncool as anybody can get. HOW DUMB IS THAT?
As I thought about it, I remembered an awesome speech from 'Secondhand Lions.' Robert Duvall is trying to get some 20-something punks to leave him alone and says this:
I'm Hub McCann. I've fought in two World Wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I led thousands of men into battle with everything from horses and swords to artillery and tanks. I've seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I've won and lost a dozen fortunes, KILLED MANY MEN and loved only one woman with a passion a FLEA like you could never begin to understand. That's who I am. NOW, GO HOME, BOY!
Obviously my life isn't quite as exciting as Hub McCann's, still, that is the type of confidence I want, that I know I should have. That is the type of confidence I want to start showing the world on a regular basis.
Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me! (Stuart Smalley)