Princess: Staying young by acting young
Since Ryan’s brother Aaron has been here visiting, they’ve ridden snowmobiles, shot BB guns, burned every stick and log on our property in the fire pit, eaten a gallon of homemade “pudding” (essentially a container of Cool Whip mixed with God knows what) and drank like 50 beers. Oh, yeah, and watched an assortment of animated films from “Frozen” to “Flushed Away,” a powerful tale about a mouse who got flushed down the toilet.
We watch these movies for our niece MacKenzie, Aaron’s 10-year-old daughter, who is by far the most mature of the bunch. She’ll typically sack out within the first five minutes of the movie that we’re supposedly watching for her benefit. You would think one of the adults in the room would seize the remote and maybe change it, but we don’t. We just pile on the couch, all glassy eyed, and listen to Ryan and Aaron crack up every four seconds and wonder why we don’t get the joke.
The other morning, Ryan’s dad, Ron, asked, “Why do those two act like they’re still 14 years old? I don’t get it.” He shook his head and rolled his eyes.
I told him that I think siblings do that when they’re together. I know my brother Dan and I do the same thing. We still have these big tickle fights where he’ll grab that spot right above my knee that only he and my dad know about, I scratch his forearms until they bleed, and I squeal and scream until he lets go.
“Daniel, doooooon’t!” I’ll yell.
“Jesus Christ, how old are you guys?” Dad will ask from the front seat. “You’ve been doing this since you were 10 years old.”
That’s pretty much how I knew I married into the right family. They’re straight-up silly and giggle at their own jokes even though they were never that funny in the first place. What’s really funny is to laugh at stuff that really isn’t that funny — not everyone gets that.
Anyway, the Margos seem to be on the same anti-aging plan as me, which is to act as immature as possible. I so totally love them.
That’s worked pretty well for me so far, though there are times I have to wonder if passers-by are questioning my sanity. Like the other day, when I was tromping around downtown Aspen wearing yoga pants with flowers all over them, tassel boots, a purple jacket and pink Kate Spade wing-tip sunglasses that I bought with the money my mother-in-law gave me for my birthday.
I have to wonder if I’ve finally turned into one of those whacked-out, middle-aged local ladies I used to see when I first moved to Aspen, women who still wear pigtails and age-inappropriate clothes, drink too much and stumble around, and you kind of feel sorry for them and wonder if maybe they’re just a little bit psychotic and forgot to take their medication.
Anyhoo, the Margos are here, and so one of my favorite things in the whole world is taking our niece skiing, to see her giggling her way down the mountain the way I did when I was her age. I know I’ve told this story a thousand times, but the whole reason I moved here was because of a family vacation to Snowmass when I was 8 years old. I loved it so much I announced that I planned to live in a round house in Aspen someday, that I would drive a Jeep and become a ski instructor.
It was almost an exact prophecy, except my house isn’t round, but shaped like a triangle. Still, it’s close enough.
So it warms my heart to see her fall in love with skiing and experience the joy that was so enormous for me that it shaped the trajectory of my life. I’m not sure the same will happen for her, though I have dropped a few hints she definitely should go to the University of Colorado (my alma matter) when she is ready to go to college, in what, eight years.
I’m not going to lie — it also makes me a little sad, too. Kenz is the coolest kid ever.
She’s like a little adult, so sometimes I forget she’s only 10 years old. I tell her stuff I probably shouldn’t and veer into topics that probably aren’t age-appropriate. (Sorry, Cory!) The other day on the drive home from the mountain, we memorized the lyrics to “Dark Horse,” by Katy Perry, and I can honestly say that it was the best time I’ve had in a while.
Kenz looks a lot like Ryan, with giant brown eyes and long, thick, brown hair. She has her mother’s bone structure, her long legs and slight build, and is a very pretty little girl.
It’s hard not to wish she were ours or to wish we had a daughter like her or to stop wishing for that. It’s hard though, especially when we’re on the mountain and I’m snowplowing down Buttermilk, finding tree-trails and stopping at Fort Frog to have a snowball fight. There’s that ache deep in my chest where part of my heart is still bruised and I literally feel empty inside, stripped of something so essential as having a child of our own to experience this with.
At the same time, she is ours at least for one week a year, and we are so lucky for that, to have this awesome family. So I guess if that means eating processed dairy and watching kids’ movies even though the one kid in the room is asleep and listening to “Dark Horse,” by Katy Perry, 15 times in a row, I’m good with that.
And maybe not having a child is the one way I can continue to act like one, seeing the world in a way that’s fun enough to write about.
The Princess has to admit she has been skiing a lot lately. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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