Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Time Traveler's Wife

Sometimes, my husband forgets he's old.

Well, maybe not old, but older.  We work with a couple hundred teens each week at our church youth group, so there is a significant age difference between us and most of the people we spend our time with.  The effect varies: Sometimes being in the presence of such youthful exuberance makes me feel every day of my 41 years. I suppose it is just as reasonable for Anthony to occasionally lose track of his age.

I can relate, to a degree.  For instance, I have a lovely friend named Sarah.  Although Sarah is only 24, I love spending time with her. Once a week or so, Sarah stops by my house on her way home from work. I make us chai-cocoa lattes, she brings macaroons, and we sit in my kitchen and chat for an hour. I never forget that technically I'm old enough to be her mother (granted, in a Teen Mom kind of way); it just doesn't matter.

Me and Sarah

Anthony, however, takes bridging a generation gap to whole new level.

At church this past Sunday, Sarah introduced us to her friend, Kerry. After the nice-to-meet-you's and the handshakes, Kerry said to Anthony, "I think I've met you before. You look really familiar."  Now, this happens to Anthony a lot. Usually, he responds with "Where do you work?" or "What church do you go to?"

Not this time. This time he asked, "Oh really? Where did you go to high school?"

My eyes widened in disbelief. I already knew that Kerry graduated from high school with Sarah.

And that Sarah was BORN the year Anthony and I graduated from high school.

But he and his new friend were completely unfazed and chatted away trying to unravel the mystery.

"I went to Osbourn," she said.

"Nope, that's not it..." Anthony started.

No kidding, since she was a zygote while you were getting your senior portraits taken! How could he not hear my wife-telepathy screaming at him?

"...because I went to Osbourn Park," he finished.

Yeah. That's why.

I am not sure if they ever got the bottom of it or if Anthony noticed the crazed look on my face, because about that time another young girl from youth group came up and pulled me aside for a chat. Of course, I brought the whole ridiculous scene to his attention when we got home. He laughed, shrugging off his mistake.  

By the next day, however, my 17-again husband had slipped through a psychic wormhole and found himself squarely in middle age. 

As I've mentioned before, Monday is the day Tiffany comes over to give me a facial. Tiffany is 19. This week, Anthony joined us as we were sitting in the family room chatting and waiting for my blueberry anti-aging mask to set. Chloe, our seven year old, bounded into the room and onto his lap.

"Can I have one of those ice cream squares you bought yesterday?" she begged.

"Sure," he answered, then turned to Tiffany:  "Do you know what Klondike Bars are?"

Tiffany nodded and gave a quiet "Mm-hmm" in the affirmative.

Anthony was surprised: "You do?"

"Why wouldn't she know what Klondike Bars are?" I butted in.

"Uh, hello? Because they are old school."

"Yes, but they still make Klondike Bars," I shot back. "It's not like you bought them on eBay."

 "Good point," he conceded.

Welcome back, old man.

As much as I tease him for his age-defying antics, the truth is I love Anthony's  ability to lose himself now and again. How wonderful to look into the face of a young person and recognize a version of yourself reflected in their vivacity.  And not just as a far-off ghost, but close enough and real enough to muddle time, erasing, just for a few moments, the accumulation of years and experience that stand between the two yous.  

As I watch my husband bounce back and forth across decades, he shows me it is okay to let go of the numbers game, to look past what the mirror throws back at me daily, and to come along for the ride.  

I have made a resolution to give up my post at ground control and become a time traveler's wife--on the condition that I can bring my moisturizer.  I am not willing to give up the fight against crow's feet just yet.


Anonymous said...

This is hilarious and heartfelt. Brightened up a gloomy day.

Trinity said...

klondike bars on ebay! Wahhahhahaha!

Genevieve said...

Renee - you have me snickering and snorting my dinner with this post!! I grew up eating Klondike bars and I'm a decade younger than... him. Still I thought I lost Klondikes forever until recently so this brings me back to my childhood in many ways. Kudos to Anthony for being so versatile with bridging the generation gap. Not many people can pull it off so effortlessly.

And hop on for the ride, who says you need to give up the fight against crow's feet? That's a never ending battle of womanhood! Now pardon me while I find my car keys and go get a Klondike to honor this with!

PS I'm with Trinity - Klondike bars on ebay is a great laugh!

Erin said...

Haha the thought of Klondike bars being "vintage"