I was at Gymboree yesterday with my youngest and all of the annoying first-time-moms that appear to be nearly pre-pubescent both in body size and attitude. When I looked at the schedule to move her up to the next level, I realized that she will be in the highest one they offer next month. That hit me harder than than any ton of playground balls she could throw my way. Not that I’m trying to make this post about me…
Gymboree holds a dear place in my heart. It’s been a family business for thirty years. My mom has owned a franchise since I’m ten. Wow, I feel old… oh…wait…I am old.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be glad to kiss Gymbo the Clown goodbye for the last time. I’ve always wondered what kid’s place would really pick a clown as a mascot. My kids are deathly afraid of regular clowns. But for some reason even though Gymbo is still a friggin’ clown, he rocks their world. We have a life-size one at home that they adore. I know, it’s gross.
From now until the graduation, even if it’s completely absurd, I know I will enjoy every single Gymbo hand stamp that comes our way. While it may be an eye sore to see the damn clown on every exposed piece of my daughters soft skin, I will live with the pain. She begs for these little tattoos which make her look more like a biker dude than any princess she hopes to be.
From now until graduation, I will cherish the wisdom I’ve amassed over my years as a Gymboree mom. I will also snicker at the two first timers in the corner near the basketball hoop discussing how they will NEVER get a mini-van knowing that they probably will another kid from now.
Graduating the other two from Gymboree was so much easier for me. I think it was because I sensed that I could gain some personal freedom by moving them up to pre-school. And let’s face it, I knew each time they graduated that there would be another one toddling right behind and climbing up the Gymboree A-Frame ladder. But, the problem with the third child is that she pushes me towards this sense of wanting to cherish each experience because I know it’s the last. Lately its borderline OCD and downright weird. Did someone say therapy? Seriously, I send her to pre-school only three days a week instead of five (like most others in her class) partially because I can’t give up taking her to Gymboree.
So now you see and can imagine that as we approach our graduation day, the melancholy that is in store for me is just maybe a little bit more pronounced than it might be for the next person. I mean, we still have about nine months left to prepare for my last child’s Gymboree graduation, but for me, the hour glass has been flipped.
Friends, please hold my hand as I journey towards my last child’s Gymboree graduation. Please help me to keep it real as I try like an MF to refrain from jumping off into the Gymboree bubble abyss. It’s soooo hard when all I do is conjure up pictures in my mind’s eye of only crossing the Gymboree threshold again as…dare I say it…a grandma?!?!?!? WTF?