Day 38: Growing Up

Sometimes it’s hard to tell that time passes. But kids help with that, because they are little measuring sticks to show you how you are growing and changing. And sometimes they even grow, too.

James has gotten bigger and he’s also gotten larger. This, combined with new tables and chairs at our local Olive Garden, has led to his sudden ability to sit by himself in the seats without a booster. So now he can color on his menu, order off of it, and then eat from it, all from the comfort of his own soft seat.

This is great for me, because while Chrissi was always afraid he was going to teeter off a booster seat and crash into the alfredo-patterned carpet, I was always a little more concerned about whatever diseases I would contract just picking that seat up. Anything in public that little kids handle is going to be a mess of germs, and if their parents are grabbing these chairs, too, one can only speculate. So that’s the big win, no more grimacing and trying to pick up the ugly brown butt buckets with just a thumb and a forefinger.

Growing up is hard to do, but we do it anyway. At least kids do.

I remember being a kid (until about last year or so) and constantly thinking about how much better everything was going to be next year. Whatever problems, financial or otherwise, I faced, I would solve them when I was older, wiser, meaner.

And then I kept growing out of car seats and booster chairs, and into classroom seats and office chairs. And I kept wondering when I was going to be able to fix everything.

It’s not just me, though. Others do this, too. The Olive Garden does it. We aspire. Olive Garden aspires to be some kind of rustic, seaside, Italian, mom-and-pop place with fresh noodles and fresher shrimp. The redesign in progress at our store points this out. Instead of those old black-and-white photographs that I’ve enjoyed cataloging this year, they’re replacing all that lovely, childhood weirdness with some grown-up awfulness:

You see, a kid doesn’t dream about some colorful coastal town. He dreams about the black and white photos of grandparents he barely remembers. She dreams about the strange look that watermelon seller gave her. They dream about the balloons that floated away into the night sky.

But we tell ourselves we dream of pastel beach towns. We tell ourselves when we retire we’ll have it all figured out. Put up our feet and watch some wrinkled fisherman split a shark in half without blinking. We dream of being old enough so that our problems have been replaced by someone else’s.

The future will fix the present.

This year of Olive Gardening was supposed to fix last year’s pasta drought. But has it been better? No, it’s just been different.

The future isn’t better, it’s just different.

Item 1: Alfredo linguine grilled chicken

Item 2: she seemed mad early on so I didn’t push her for more courses or leftovers

Breadsticks: 4 (oof)

Weight: 170 (yeeks)

Age: 33 (hmmm)