~"“Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes."~ Oscar Wilde
Have you ever heard the saying "kids keep you young"? I swear the people who say it either never had kids or are suffering some form of dementia. There is no doubt about it-kids age you. Mind you, it isn't all bad. In some ways the aging includes wisdom-knowledge..a different perspective on the world. On the other hand though, they can just plain wear you out...until you are nothing more than a dried out husk. I think the trick is in finding your balance-your joy. Especially during the difficult times..say when your three year old son is having a freakout on line at the supermarket-and your eighteen month old daughter (seeing your distraction) unclips herself from her seat and decides to take a ride down the check outs conveyor belt. Now you have a choice. You can either grab your son and yell to your daughter (and vice versa) OR you can redirect your boy and watch your daughter enjoy the ride. Me? I'm all for enjoying the ride. .
This week,I will be celebrating my forty seventh year. Holy crap forty seven!! How did that happen? I've been happily skipping along-enjoying the roller coaster that life is-and BAM! All of a sudden I'm thinking about my mortality. I think kids do that. I mean, I never really thought about "THE END" until I had kids. My life-being alive..never seemed more important than when they entered the picture. I very much remember the day Sammy was born..holding my little chubby headed baby boy..and thinking "I need to be around for at least twenty one more years." I'm guessing that this is a natural reaction to new parenthood. Especially because they are so small and vulnerable. It isn't till later when they start asserting their independence...say, in the form of running down the street wearing only socks that you wonder-"WILL I make it twenty one years-or will I collapse from sheer exhaustion before then?"
Yes, parenting has aged me. But it has also expanded me-brought me places I never imagined standing. Like the middle of a Walmart on a busy Sunday afternoon because it is Spring and I think it is necessary that we have the appropriate bubbles and sidewalk chalk to play with. Or the back of a classroom on a Wednesday morning watching your son give a report to his class. Places I thought I would never want to be..(well I still don't want to be at Walmart) and yet there I am..content (again, not at Walmart-but definitely buying bubbles). Almost forty seven and excited over side walk chalk. Who knew?
I can't tell you where it is I expected to be at forty seven years of age-if you had asked me twenty years ago, it certainly wouldn't have been here. Yet, I am oddly giddy about where I am. Sure, I could complain..rail against the gods..gnash my teeth and bemoan the consequences of my life. I could sit and whine..cry about autism..bitch and moan and protest at the unjustness that I see in the world..at the behaviors of my children, of all the work ahead and behind. I could...but it wouldn't be honest. It wouldn't. I'm not saying that I don't have days where I want to quit. Oh there have been plenty of times when I have called Omar at work and given my "two week" notice. I am a mother after all..we are allowed to complain from time to time. Just not ALL the time. I think that for every one complaint there ought to be twice as many compliments. Just sayin...
It's hard to look back on, but when I was in my teens and early twenties, I didn't think I would even make it to thirty. I didn't even care. I lived hard..and I must admit..there were moments when I had a hell of a lot of fun. But the fun never really outweighed the consequences..it was tumultuous...crazy..and sometimes very dark. Looking back sometimes makes me cringe. *sigh* But sometimes...sometimes your past has a way of creeping up on you in the middle of the night, knocking you down..shaking you up..making you question your present. Especially when your present is so damn incredible. Sometimes when I am in the grip of the past, I find myself wondering just what it is that I have done to deserve this life of mine...and I mean that in the best way. Oh, I worry- about being worthy, competent...Of living up to the privilege of raising these four incredible children-who love me thoroughly and completely- leaving me breathless.... And then, the toilet overflows..or the dogs throw up..and the kids need to be fed..and the laundry done..it is then that I find my balance and remember to breathe(or call Omar)..Remember that the past is what makes the now so much more..
Saying that my kids" keep me young" just doesn't sound right-to me. They definitely keep me present..and joyful-overwhelmed and scattered. They sure do make the ride far more interesting than I ever could. But young? No. I am going to be forty seven..and although mentally I could pass for twelve(possibly even maturity wise)...my body..*sigh* can not. Maybe I'll think differently when I'm in my eighties...when dementia sets in...perhaps I'll start wearing a bikini then..or ride a motorcycle(but not at the same time.....not that I want you to visualize an eighty year old in a bikini on a fast motorcycle with the wind blowing through her hanging arm wrinkles)-they will all be way over twenty one. But till then..I'll just count my years along with my blessings...and hope that I get some good presents.