While looking at the new dinosaur exhibit at our local amusement park, my daughter could not contain her excitement.
“Mommy, these dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, like way back in the 1970s!”
This, my friends is why some species eat their young.
I’d like to say that this is the only time my daughter has unwittingly taken a shot at my age, but it isn’t. One morning when I was brushing my daughter’s hair I felt a bit nostalgic for the 80s so I pulled all her hair into a side ponytail just to see what she thought of it.
Her eyes got big and her mouth contorted in horror as she said, “Oh my gosh, Mommy, now I look like someone from the 1960s!”
Exactly how old does my daughter think I am?! I’m not old—my formative years were in the 80s, my hell-raising years were in the 90s—hell, I was a kid when grunge was cool. That’s not old. But as hard as I try, my daughter still seems to believe that I must come from a time that predates the wheel and Doritos.
One day as we sat at the table coloring pictures, my daughter put down her crayon and asked me, “What colors were around when you were a kid?”
“Honey, trees have always been green and the sky has always been blue, no matter how old you think I am,” I said and kept coloring diligently on my Dora the Explorer picture.
“No, what color crayons did they have when you were a kid?” she asked with absolute curiosity.
I looked at her and thought for a moment. My Crayola box had just about all the same colors as hers—I clearly remember burnt sienna and cadet blue—but I know my daughter will never believe that answer. So I quickly came up with a better answer for her.
“Well, way back when I was a kid, before we had those new-fangled iPads and such, our crayons boxes had just one color—black,” I said in my best toothless, old woman voice.
My daughter was enthralled. “Just black?”
“If I wanted to color the sky, I colored it black. If I wanted to color the ocean, I colored it black,” I said and glanced at my daughter.
“Until one day, a new color crayon was invented. Everyone rushed to the toy store to buy the new color,” I said and coughed because imitating a toothless old woman is hard on the throat.
“What color was it?” she asked with barely contained excitement.
“Gray,” I told her, trying not to laugh.
“Did you buy it?” she asked with wide eyes.
“I sure did, cost me four chickens and donkey. But you know what I discovered?” I said and waited for her to respond.
“What?” she gasped.
“Gray is just another name for really light black,” I said.
“Did you ever get your donkey back?” my daughter asked with concern.
“No, but I could color one heck of a picture of him with that new gray crayon!” I said and started laughing. My daughter processed the story for a moment longer, then began laughing hysterically.
Then I realized, I don’t care how old my daughter thinks I am. There’s no better sound in the world than my daughter laughing so hard she has work to catch her breath as she says, “Mommy, you’re so funny!”
Funny and old—I’ll take it.