Friday, September 19, 2014

Essay: The Incredulous Years

By Pam Victor

As of exactly noon on this brisk, sunny day, I officially am the parent of a 16 year old and an 18 year old. That is astounding to me. It occurs to me that I’ve been feeling astounded all year long, as we’ve approached these milestones of high school and graduation and college. I suspect I’ll look back on these as the "Incredulous Years," the time when I was slack-jawed and humbled that the time somehow whizzed by at a snail's pace. All those obscenely long, sometimes lonely, often poopy days - when I felt like I belly-crawled through the obstacle course of cooking and cleaning and re-cleaning and care-taking and soothing and crying and earaches and projectile vomiting and snuggles and picture books and losing my patience and regaining my patience and losing it again and the long ritual of winding down to the finish line of bedtime - all those interminable days seemed to have lined up, one after another, to turn into long months and shorter years and a decade that went by in a blink.

I am genuinely incredulous as I look at my grown-on-the-outside children, and I wonder who is taking care of the babies and toddlers and preschoolers and little kidlets that used to live in our house? Who are these tall
Mother's Day 2014
humans who I look up, both physically and, more and more often, mentally? How did they ever fit in my body? Where they curled up like ferns that unfurled slowly over the last 16 and 18 years? I hope the babies my children once were are okay. I hope I didn’t them screw  up too badly. I hope I can make it through my daughter’s geometry homework tonight.

I can't get my mind around my children - hell, lately, I can't even get my arms around them...they are on the run to one place or another or too busy texting their friends or too strong for me to tackle. But I am grateful and humbled to be at this place in life. And most of all, I am incredulous. Absolutely and profoundly incredulous that we are here today. Absolutely and profoundly and GRATEFULLY incredulous when I look at my 5’9” daughter, all legs and gorgeous hair and bright eyes with all that she always has to say. Incredulous that my son no longer sleeps in our house. Incredulous when I look in the mirror at the silver in my hair. How the fuck did that happen? How is it that my baby is in high school while I am not? Incredulous when I fondly rub the baby soft hair clinging stubbornly to the top of my husband’s head, bidding it a final farewell. (Turns out, age is all about hair. Who knew?) Incredulous when I see the family-friend kids who used to dance naked after dinner in a funny noise-maker parade (which always included a hot pink shopping cart, for some reason), and those kids are now almost adults. And I look at the other parents of those replaced kids, and we just shake our heads with our mouths open, laughing in disbelief.

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Pam Victor is the founding member of The Ha-Ha’s, and she produces The Happier Valley Comedy Show in western Massachusetts. Pam performs a "Geeking Out with: The TALK SHOW," a live version of the written Geeking Out with... interview series, at comedy festivals throughout the land. Pam writes mostly humorous, mostly true essays and reviews of books, movies, and tea on her blog, "My Nephew is a Poodle." Currently, Pam is co-writing "Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ and Dave Book" with TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi. If you want to stay abreast (yes, I said breast) of all her nonsense, go to

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