Momhood

Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Rude Awakening

This past weekend, my friend Joy* experienced what I'd call a mid-life crisis one-two punch. On Saturday, her oldest daughter was married. On Sunday, she turned 50. The only thing that prevented it from becoming a hat trick was that she did not become a grandmother on Monday.

In terms of life-changes, I'd say she hit the motherlode (forgive the pun.) As I stood in the church watching her beautiful daughter walk down the aisle, I became sort of weepy thinking how this was the first of my friends whose children were getting married, meaning that my life was going to change soon as well. But when I woke up the next day, I was relieved to be a blissful 5 years away from the big FIVE-OH! (Hey, you count your blessings when you find 'em, right?)

Joy, on the other hand, handled it all with grace, style and operating under the radar. She absolutely forbid anyone from singing her Happy Birthday during the reception. Knowing Joy, it was so as not to steal attention away from the bride and groom. If it were me, it would be to continue a cycle of bold denial.

Age has never bothered me. I've never hidden my age and will happily share it with anyone that asks. (OK, I'm 45, if you must know.) But for some reason, thinking of Joy and this weekend's double-whammy felt overwhelming...to me. Being a mom is a constant reminder of how old you are. As your children age, you do too - twice as fast, it seems. Your kids constantly remind you that you're old and have no clue what they're about. Although they're often right, you never, EVER admit it. Yes, I readily give out my age now, but I'm honestly not sure how I'm going to feel about doing it in five years.

I'm sure part of Joy's secret is that she has aged extremely well. She looks much younger than me and has blessedly avoided the paunch and jowls that plague so many of us. As firmly as I believe in the phrase "you're as young as you feel," I can't help but feel jealous lately when I run into younger moms or women blessed with Hilton, Lohan or Witherspoon genes. (Of course the fact that they probably exercise, um, WAY more than me or actually pass up the pastry samples in the grocery store might have something to do with their fantastic figures.)

Nevertheless, time marches on and with it go our bodies, our children and our lives. Life-changing events, like weddings and significant birthdays can be wake-up calls for all of us. They force us to think back, which is easy, and look ahead, which becomes a little harder to do with each passing year. Thank goodness I have Joy to teach me how to do it well.

*Names were changed to protect the aging.

13 Comments:

At 11:21 AM , Blogger utenzi said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog today via Michele. I'm going to hit 45 this year also. Getting harder and harder to think of myself as middleaged. I think my chances of making it to 90 are VERY slim, indeed.

It's very healthy that you can admit to your age, Karen. Age should be worn as a badge, something to be proud of.

 
At 3:01 PM , Anonymous Tania said...

You mentioned that "Being a mom is a constant reminder of how old you are." and I agree, but as a 35-year old woman who hasn't yet had any children, being childless can also be a reminder of how old you are. I hear the clock ticking (loudly!) and people seem to think that it's okay to ask all sorts of questions about why I haven't had kids yet. Heck, I'm still trying to figure out what happened to my 20s - time sure flies!

Time marches on at the same speed for all of us. It's what we do with that time (and how we spend it with loved ones) that really matters. It sounds like you're doing really well on that front. :)

Btw...I'm here from Michele's today!

 
At 5:08 PM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

If I've learnec anything about ANYTHING, and that is questionable...(lol) it's that (as the old cliches say..)You are never too old and 'The Best Is All Ahead'...
Both things are truer than you thibk or know at this pointin your life!

Have FUN!!!

I'm here from Michele today!

 
At 6:06 PM , Blogger jules said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm now checking you out!

I believe age is a state of mind, children or no. I'm 39, no children and am lucky that I look closer to mid-20's I'm told - but - I believe age, like life, is what you make of it.

Sometimes I don't feel any different than when I was 16 or younger! Other times I think of all I've learned and how much wiser I am about life, love, friendship, and life in general!

 
At 9:00 PM , Blogger kenju said...

The prime of my life was between 42 and 62. Don't fear or regret growing old - it is a wonderful journey and you should savor every year.

I have never minded telling my age; I figure I look it - so why not be truthful.

 
At 8:01 AM , Blogger owlhaven said...

I can relate to this. My oldest graduates from high school this spring and I can hardly believe I am old enough to have a child that old. She's as old as I was when I met my husband! Mary

 
At 9:15 AM , Blogger Zephra said...

31 was so much harder for me than 30. I honestly feel so much older. I told my friend once that each kid you have adds 10 years to your real age. By that math I am 71. That is about what I feel. I am starting not to want to admit my age but luckly my 6 year old goes around telling anyone who will listen.

 
At 9:55 PM , Blogger Marisa said...

As I approached my big 30 (3 years ago now), I thought it would be this catestrophic event... here I am 30, not married, no kids, blah, blah, blah. So I threw myself a party and had a blast. I don't mind telling people my age, in part because I don't look it (a flight attendant once asked me for id -- last year -- b/c she didn't believe I was 18!), and in part because I still have a long way to go.

But if I hear one more person say, "Wow, 33. That's how old Jesus was when he died for our sins. What have you accomplished?", well, you'll hear the screams all the way in Chicago.

(PS Thanks for the comment. No wonder I like you so.)

 
At 11:39 AM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

Hey my mom was twice a grandmother by the time she was 50. 50 is much younger than it used to be. 50 year old women are having babies too! Tell her to go out and pamper herself for a day at a day spa or something.

 
At 11:29 AM , Anonymous Chele In {dot} LA said...

This will be me soon.. Oh lord.

 
At 8:42 AM , Blogger Lazy Daisy said...

Michele sent me again so I read about your friend and aging. Beautiful post, insightful and elegantly written. If Michele keeps sending me I will read more. Already a fan!

 
At 10:10 AM , Blogger Chrixean said...

I'm back from Michele's! It's nice to read posts that are as open and as nicely written as this. I have 2 decades still to go through before i reach mid-life... and i look forward to what time and experience has to teach me :-)

 
At 7:36 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

As long as I can get on my bicycle and fly around the countryside for hours on end, I won't focus on the whole age thing.

My grandfather never focused on numbers, and into his 70s he would ride his bike clear across town (we lived in Montreal...it was a HUGE bike ride to get to our house) to see us. Then he would argue with my Dad because he refused multiple offers of a lift home.

His philosophy: he got there on his own, so he would get home on his own, too.

To this day, that's how I lead my life as well.

 

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