If you’re a Gen X parent of pre-teenish/teenish kids, perhaps you also are experiencing lightning in a bottle this summer.
A new parenting level unlocked.
The impossible made possible.
That’s right, a portal has opened and our 1980’s childhoods have crossed with those of our thoroughly modern and exhausted children and…our life experiences have suddenly become interesting to our kids!
I love you, Stranger Things.
Season 3 of the Netflix show, released and immediately consumed by viewers way back on July 4, has delivered to our adolescents a story about kids THEIR age back in the 80’s which, blowing young minds everywhere, makes the show’s beloved characters OUR exact age. Flash forward to the show’s bad ass girls Eleven, Max, Nancy, Robin and pint-sized Erica in 2019 and you would find them in my book club, or in your swim practice carpool.
Yes, the Stranger Things kids regularly battle alien hellbeasts, but mostly, they are at the mall wearing OUR clothes (I’m looking at you high top Reeboks, Swatches, and the ugliest shorts ever), listening to OUR music, and watching OUR movies. (Bonus points to all of you who immediately recognized “Neverending Story,” right in front of your awestruck kids. Dusty and Suzie’s rendition is the REAL song of summer.) Thanks to Patrick Swayze and Red Dawn, we really did think the Russians were going to come marching through our small unassuming towns. We rode our bikes places and enjoyed free reign in 1980’s malls. (My Starcourt Mall was Sunrise Mall. What was yours?)
The meticulously detailed world of this season captured the imagination of our kids, successfully romanticizing our collective childhoods that in reality were fueled by sugar, hairspray and occasional parental supervision. For wistful Gen Xers, the season re-created an environment otherwise lost to us forever because unlike our future children, we walked through our adolescent days documenting very little with our rarely used LeClics. Buying and developing film was expensive and annoying, you guys!
This week, I’ve been low-key answering questions about what it was like in the olden days; explaining Orange Julius, Chess King, Waldenbooks, Wicks ‘N Sticks and Neverending Story, while trying not to be noticeably excited about my newfound valuable subject matter expertise. The other day I heard something along the lines of “So cool. I wish I was around for that.”
To make this crossover of time and space even more magical, the show stars a member of Gen X royalty, Queen Winona Ryder along with Maya Hawke as this season’s new fan favorite character, Robin. Princess Maya is of course the offspring of Lady Uma Thurman and Sir Ethan Hawke, Winona’s costar in Gen X manifesto movie Reality Bites. “It’s all happening,” I’ve said to myself over and over.
So, this summer, I am thankful for this little gift of a loud, exciting, heart warming, scary, kinda gross but delightful gift to Gen X parents. Any opportunity to connect is a good one, right? Because by the time school rolls around again, our kids will have forgotten that their parents were once hellbeast battling, feathered-hair-having, bike riding heroes.
*Above you will find my better half John whose look, car and pose obviously served as the inspiration for Billy. My buddy and Laurel and I go shopping…Esprit…everything Esprit.