April 26 18

I wasn’t going to write today.

But Lin-Manuel Miranda shared words of wisdom, as he often does.

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So here’s a weird thing I like to do that normal people probably don’t.

Late at night, in those wee hours when normal people are sleeping, when I’ve exhausted all of my ridiculous google searches like “what can I do with this bag full of millet I bought when I was feeling healthy?” and “Who was that actor who was in For Keeps with Molly Ringwald?” and “Is being a film extra a legitimate job?” and “When are they going to name the royal baby?” and “Every time I type the letter l it types two lls and why does my laptop hate me?” {It’s funny that you don’t think these are for real but I actually just combed through last night’s searches on my iPhone}, and after I’ve yelled at least two of my children to go to sleep,

I spend time looking at what other people like on Instagram. No, really. Especially celebrities. Did you even know you could do this? If you click the “Following” tab, you can see what other people like, and their comments too. I started doing this because I follow a lot of photographers whose work I find inspiring and just all around lovely to look at. And by seeing the photos that these photographers find inspiring and just all around lovely to look at, I find even more inspiration and pretty things to see. But the weirdo in me secretly {and now not-to-secretly} likes to see…”Oh, Michael B. Jordan likes photos of queso and Busy Phillips is totally real-life friends with Kelly Ripa and Christine Lakin just commented on Marla Sokoloff’s post of her with Rachael Leigh Cook!” Don’t look now, my ’90s youth is showing.

So there you have it.

Here’s another thing I do that you’ll probably find strange…or if you were one of my kids you’d find it super annoying. I never, ever let the microwave get down to zero. I’ll set it for one minute, and let it get down to 2 or 3 seconds left, and then open that puppy right up. I also have a legit fear of open containers in the fridge. My husband was once looking for something in the fridge and discovered 7 open containers of Sabra hummus. Milk, dressings, condiments, and salsa is the absolute worst for an inexplicable reason. I am intimidated by automatic faucets, automatic dryers {although now I willl never use one again because I do not, in fact, want poo hands}{SEE THE DOUBLE L WTF?}, paying for things — I always swipe the card the wrong way, or I swipe instead of tap, or I tap when I should use the chip, or I leave the chip in too long and then the machine yells at me REMOVE YOUR CARD NOW! I am an abuser of the snooze button. Oh yes. Every morning, every nine minutes. I, quite literally, keep the dream alive.

And…I drive until my gas tank is empty. Well, emptier than empty actually. It’s like a challenge to see how far to the left of the E I can get that orange dial to go.

But! I now have living under my roof one seventeen-year-old driver who would like nothing more than to drive my car any chance I will allow. You guys, it’s hard enough allowing my husband to sit in the driver’s seat and control the radio and the temperature settings and the ability to change the mirrors and omg the seats. But imagine being a control freak but also a mom. There’s an extra large layer of anxiety there. Not only do I have to worry about an interloper changing all the settings and stealing all of my coffee change, but I have to worry about MY BABY driving on the streets and being a stupid teenager like I was and getting into an accident with far too many people in my Jeep and far too many blue gummy bears. 

It starts every evening. “Can I have the car tomorrow?” And continues every morning. “Can I have the car today?” And, yes, continues every afternoon. “Can I have the car this evening?”

And the truth is, a yes you can have the car response from me is almost always based on one thing only: DO I NEED GAS?

(Okay, I lie. Two things. Do I need gas? And do I need someone to go grocery shopping for me and/or get ice cream for me?)

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I have a child who drives.

I have a child who drives. 

I have a child who is weeks away from finishing her junior year of high school. (That’s Grade 11 to the Canadians in the house) We have been talking about college (That’s University to the Canadians in the house) and about whether or not she should drop physics (that’s universal, I believe) even though her teacher won’t let her and her mom won’t let her and at least she should get the free trip to Canada’s Wonderland.

I realize that as close as I get to having a child graduating from high school, the farther and farther away from my high graduation we are. (Also there’s that whole turning 40 next month thing) And I know how much has actually happened since I was in high school, but when I talk about those four years and tell stories from that time in my life, it just doesn’t feel that long ago. My memories are all so vivid, not unlike that one patchwork Gap vest I had — that my one-hundred-year old teacher also had.

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NO REALLY. 

Plaid and I were *likethis* in high school.

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I often (actually more often than not) tell Emily that when she’s fumbling towards forty she willl look back at photos of herself from high school and cringe at the whole leggings-as-pants phenomenon, much like I cringe at the whole coordinating colored socks with giant oversized flannel phenomenon.

I wonder what else she woulld telll that 17-year-old Emily.

I wonder what I would tell that 17-year-old Ali…

(other than to make sure she gets a laptop with a working letter l)

…You will never learn to properly wear eyeliner, so you can just stop trying now. You will never, ever be a good dancer, but thanks to someone named Taylor Swift, you willl stop caring how you look when you do. You will have lines on your face that don’t go away when you stop laughing. And you will be okay with it—because of all of the laughing. See also: elevens between your eyes. You will side with Claire on the whole sushi thing. (Related: rewatch the Breakfast Club). You will still drive a Jeep. One day you’ll be cool. And one day you’ll watch the movie where that line is from. And it’ll change your life. You will still watch soap operas and ONE DAY YOU WILL SPEND TIME WITH SUSAN LUCCI IN A HOTEL ROOM.

Call your parents more often. Call your siblings more often. Call your friends more often.

People will read the words you write — don’t stop writing those words. People will ask you to take their photo — don’t stop using that camera.

You will make it to Ireland. You will kiss the Blarney Stone. You won’t get an STD. The pound sign will be called a hashtag. The future is crazy! One day you will love a play about that guy from the $10 bill. Read The Grapes of Wrath, not just every other chapter. Maybe invest in Apple stock. Listen to your mother. Stop hating your body. Please. Sleep sometimes. You will not believe what happens to those kids on The Mickey Mouse Club.

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And for the love of God, stop plucking your eyebrows. 

But, then again, Alan Rickman says that you shouldn’t give any advice to your teenage self.

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So maybe it’s best to let that girl learn about the flannel on her own. And maybe it’s best to let Emily learn about the leggings on her own.

As long as she continues to fill up my car with gas. 

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  1. Beautiful. Also now I can’t wait to read about your Susan Lucci meeting.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jpm2375 on April 27, 2018
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