Today I am wondering who is this person who is inhabiting my body. I have to say that I am feeling every bit of my almost forty-one years tonight. It’s not physical—it’s on the inside. Every event today seemed to be mocking me, making me feel a sense of the passage of time.
It began with a wedding…the union of our dear friends’ twenty-six year old daughter. Alan and I dropped our kids off at a young family’s house so they could babysit this couple’s four children while we adults attended the wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony, complete with all the requisite items and including a few special touches all their own, such as a teddy bear (which has quite a story of his own) and bubbles blown as the bride and groom recessed down the aisle. Suddenly, in the middle of the ceremony, it struck me. For the first time, instead of being whisked back to memories of my own wedding (although there was some of that), I felt transported forward, imagining the weddings of my own precious children in the not-too-distant future. I realized that I am closer in time to that seemingly far-off day when my oldest daughter will wed than I am to that day when my husband and I said our own vows, even though it feels like just yesterday. It was a jarring realization…how could this be?
The reception was a lovely sit-down brunch. We were invited to join some young friends at their table, and upon sitting down, I remarked to Alan, “Looks like we’re the token old people at this table!” The other couples were all twenty-somethings and two of them were holding young babies. We had a delightful time with these young couples, but inside I kept thinking how we must look to them. I don’t feel any different, yet somehow we’ve attained the dubious status of a “mature” couple. When did this happen? Somewhere in between the diaper changes and the first steps? Or was it in the days of school beginnings, or at the transition to parents of a teenager? Part of me felt sad…I wanted to be one of them again, just starting out on their road together.
That evening I dropped our oldest child off at a high school girls’game night. Some young moms were hosting and acting as chaperones. When I arrived to pick her up, the group was involved in a rowdy game of Cranium. Question after question, I realized that I was the only one in the room old enough to know the answers or remember the events in question. They had never heard of the song “Mandy” (and my mind immediately began humming the tune while picturing ol’ Barry). When the young lady (trying to get them to guess Ronald Reagan) said “that OLD president that was shot” (to which everyone guessed “Lincoln!)”, memories flooded my mind of the day he was shot (I was home sick from school that day). I even knew who fought the War of 1812, although that one does predate me by more than a century! I would quietly mumble the answers and think “I remember that, and these people (kids and adults alike) weren’t even born yet!”. A later clue, which one young lady had to draw for the others to guess and which turned out to be “spring chicken” just seemed to rub salt in the wound. When the one giving the clue needed an explanation as to what exactly was a spring chicken, I cringed inside. The young mom answering her question replied, “You are one!” and explained that it meant someone who was young. I sadly thought to myself, “You may be one, but I am NOT.”
Most days, I embrace the season of life in which I find myself. Life is good…the kids are so much fun and showing the fruit of faithful discipline, being married to my best friend for almost twenty years is amazing, and I love the phase of life we are in. Today, however, I guess I had a wake-up call that shattered my serenity. I looked in the mirror and saw a few gray hairs, a few extra pounds, a distance between me and these young moms that I hadn’t previously noticed. It made me think of the time when I was a young teen and my dad described me to somebody as having blonde curls (when I hadn’t had blonde hair or curls for probably five or six years!). He still saw me that way in his mind’s eye even though I had long turned brunette and lost the ringlets (and maybe he still does). I guess in my own mind’s eye, I’m still that young mom in the prime of young adulthood instead of a heading toward middle-age “older” mom. Maybe tomorrow the whole idea of aging will be more palatable, but for tonight, I miss being a “spring chicken”.
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