Hey, Kids, We Were Wild And Carefree Once Too

Hey, Kids, We Were Wild And Carefree Once Too

Jorrie Varney

I see you look at me with irritation when I caution you to be careful. I know what you’re thinking: My mom is so boring.

Just so you know, I haven’t always been this cautious and responsible. Before I was your mama, I was wild and carefree—just like you. But I changed, because throwing caution to the wind is not really compatible with motherhood. There has to be a balance of fun and sensibility, and because you’re still young, the fun sometimes takes center stage, so I’m here to remind you of the sensibility.

The truth is, I get it and so does your dad. We know how fun life can be when you’re flying by the seat of your pants, not worrying what tomorrow holds. When we were young we lived that life and we lived it well. We may be Mr. and Mrs. Sensibility now, but back in the day, we spent our paychecks right down to the last penny, and no, we didn’t always make reasonable purchases.

We bought CDs just for one song, and spent hours driving around town, burning gas, with the music up and the windows down. OutKast, Usher, and Destiny’s Child, blared from the speakers of our Pontiac Grand AMs and Chevy Cavaliers. Our parents hated our taste in music, but we didn’t care. We closed our bedroom doors and played our music as loud as we could, until one of our friends called and we were off on our next adventure.

We rolled our eyes at our curfews, and vowed to never be such strict parents. We sacrificed time away from our friends to work crappy jobs at grocery stores and restaurants, and barely made enough money for a weekend worth of fun. You’d be amazed how far we could stretch twenty bucks.

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When we left home, we survived on ramen noodles and cereal, so we could pay for ridiculous wardrobe trends, like tweed high heels and jeans faded in all the right spots. We borrowed clothes from our besties, and knew which second-hand stores had the best stuff.

Inside jokes we still reference today were born on random Tuesday nights that weren’t supposed to be wild, but ended in some of the most memorable moments of our lives. Time stood still when we were dancing with our friends, and the music from those days is like a time-machine that still carries us away when we are stuck in the school drop-off line.

There were nights we never went to bed. Instead, we sat in the back of pick-up trucks with our best friends, watching the amber glow in the distance break the horizon. We stayed in bed the whole next day, waking up just in time to catch an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Lost, or Grey’s Anatomy. (Yes, it was on back then. We aren’t that old.)

We all grew to be different people, some of us finding the balance between fun and sensibility, and some of us still searching. I don’t regret a moment of it, and I hope you can have those moments, too. In fact, I know you will. But, it’s my job to prepare you for those days—for the world that will hand you some of the best moments of your life, and probably some of the worst. It’s my job to make sure you are ready for all of it, even the boring and sensible stuff.

So, when you hear me caution you, don’t think of it as your mom being a total drag. Think of it as me preparing you for all the good times to come.