Having teenage kids gives you a whole variety of reminders that you’re getting older. You’ve probably had that experience of running into old friends and first thinking, hey, nothing has changed and then realizing, um, I was pregnant the last time I saw her and now that baby is in college.
Or needing a middleschooler to show you how to work your new phone. In my case, the other day I saw that one of my YouTube videos had jumped from a few hits to over 7,000, and when I told my 16-year-old I was happy about it even if it wasn’t in the millions, Ben said, “Don’t worry mom – 7,000 is viral for old people.”
But the clearest reminder that I’m aging comes when I tell my kids what was different “when I was a girl,” like how we somehow functioned without cell phones, or how I never knew the Wizard of Oz was in color. We only had a black & white TV until I was in high school, and we were too busy to stay home that one night of the year it was shown, back in pre-VCR days. I didn’t see the color version ’til a college film festival, and at first I thought I had picked up a contact high . . .
My boys find it hard to believe that we survived with only 13 TV channels, or that I can remember a time when girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school. I had that same disbelief listening to my mother describe her sorority “girdle checks” or using the outhouse on her grandparents’ farm, or my dad talking about ration coupons in WW2.
This week is the beginning of a major change that I hope will give my boys something to tell their children. As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on two same-sex marriage cases, we’re also hearing endless news stories about the rapid shift in public support, or yet another surprising advocate of marriage equality (the CEO of Starbucks, a Republican senator, Clint Eastwood???) It’s clearly just a matter of time, and I believe the fact that there wasn’t always universal gay marriage will seem just as unbelievable to my grandchildren (whom my boys promise to provide me!) as segregation or women not voting seems to us now.