I remember a time far, far away in which I stayed up past midnight willingly and enjoyed it.
It was a magical time filled with idle chit chat with my college roommates, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.
“The night is young!”
Oh, what a time to be alive. Newly eighteen and having only been away from home for a total of two weeks, I felt like such a badass going to bed way past the bedtime my parents had still been regularly enforcing upon me while I was still living at home.
Maybe it’s because I’m Mexican and maybe because I’m the first born and a woman, but my parents were always crazy strict with me up until I had my daughter. When I say crazy strict I absolutely mean it. If you don’t believe me let me follow up with some examples…
- I was not allowed to paint my fingernails, toenails, face, or other visible (or non-visible) parts of my body. I remember one time when I was in 5th grade I had colored in my fingernails with my pencil at school and forgotten to wash my handiwork before I got home -much to my mother’s amusement and my father’s annoyance. Let’s not even get started on the times my middle school friends would draw doodles on my arms and hands with colorful sharpies and my dad would catch me vehemently trying to wash them off when I got home… “Your body is not a sketch pad! Do you need more journals? Stop writing on your arms dammit!”
- I was not allowed to have sleepovers or attend sleepovers. Ever. Period. End of discussion.
- In the event that I were to get invited to a party or any kind of outing at all, I was to give my parents at least a weeks notice before said event so they could “go over the pros and cons” and have enough time to think about it. Last minute ice cream invitation for Michelle? “Oh, don’t even bother inviting me, I already know I can’t go.”Needless to say, my friends were very familiar with this particular rule.
- Absolutely, positively NO DATING until you are 18 (and even then it was an issue).
- NO social media accounts. Like, at all.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. I was sheltered, over-protected, locked away in a tower! Okay, so maybe that’s stretching it, but most days I definitely felt like a prisoner in my own home.
Eighteen years I endured it. Eighteen years I learned to deal with it.
After my high school graduation, college was my ticket out and as the summer came to an end that year I could almost taste the sweet, sweet freedom.
I wasn’t like most of my peers in that I wasn’t anxiously awaiting my freedom in order to go out and party and drink alcohol and go out with boys. On the contrary, I wanted to finally stay up as late as I wanted, make last minute plans with my friends and keep them, drink as much pop as I wanted, and finally get on my Facebook without exiting out of the page every five minutes.
My goals were simple.
I can honestly say I met those goals…
Why am I telling you all this?
Maybe it’s because I am sitting here at one in the morning -totally not enjoying this staying up thing by the way- listening to my kid snore away and actively wondering whether she will have an inkling of the rebellious streak I had growing up. I am sitting here pondering whether she will grow up to defy me as I had defied my parents plenty of times and totally (un)fairly -though it seemed fair at the time.
Go to sleep.
Well, no, because I find myself craving these moments to myself when my kid is peacefully sleeping and not making noise other than that very light snoring. I regret it every time in the morning, but this is the only time I truly have to myself. I am too selfish to give that up.
So instead I sit here typing away and obsessively wondering what my future will hold. Ben & Jerry’s has been replaced with popcorn, How I Met Your Mother aired their last episode a couple of years ago so Law and Order: SVU reruns it is, and snoring has replaced idle chit chat.
It’s the simple things, really.