I had always naively entertained the idea that I would age “gracefully”….
Whatever that meant…
Now of course, I have come to realize the truth: I have never done anything gracefully and won’t be able to do this so either.
Rather, I will do it like I do most things: clumsily, boring all around me with my vanity and driven controlling ways and opinions and ideas. And at the same time I will go kicking and griping over the cliffs of the inevitable decline and collapse of my body.
I will never be elegant and chic.
I will have very gray hair turning all too quickly to white.
I will have a thickening body being remapped with wrinkles and sags.
I will have spots from too many days in the sun.
I have my mother’s hands.
Middle age is no picnic.
Yet, despite my clumsy ways and self, I have a richly woven tapestry of a life – surrounded by so many that I love so dearly. I have the strength in my arms to hold eight children. I have the arms to hug so many others for missing moms and try to let them know that a mom loves them and it feels like this. I have been able to find niches in my heart for many here and others I have even recently met in Africa, ones I won’t see again but who will stay with me.
All that is worth every gray hair, every wrinkle, sag, and spot.
I used to be bothered by looking at my hands and seeing my mother’s. It was, somehow, shocking. But oddly enough, not anymore. They are mine. They are hers.
I never used to tell folks when it was my birthday, although I’ve always told my age. Somehow it didn’t seem like I should mention it. But, then, I decided that sets a bad example for my kids. As I tell my children, birthdays are for celebrating! And so not to be a hypocrite (at least this time)….I’ve said it. And tonight I will have some red wine and a piece of tiramisu or icy lemoncello and kiss all my children and husband. And while the kid’s bdays and my husband’s are ever so much more fun….I am very grateful for mine.