Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Turn, turn, turn

by Judy Merrill Larsen

Sitting here on my sofa, looking out the windows into my backyard, the leaves that just a week ago were still the deep green of late summer are now shades of gold and orange with hints of the vibrant red that will come in another week or two.

When I went out to get the paper this morning, there was a definite chill in the air and fallen leaves fluttered at my feet.

Time is passing and while it's usually not this noticeable, the signs are everywhere right now.

My younger son will be home for a few days--and I'll make apple pie and chili and banana bread, all favorites of his. I'll also wrap a big box for his birthday. He'll be 21. I can't quite get my brain around that. Not only am I no longer the mother of toddlers; I'm not even the mom of teenagers. That can mean only one thing: Damn, I'm old.

Are you like me . . . no longer a reliable judge of people's ages? I still sorta think of myself as younger. Or at least as not as being seen as middle-aged. This summer my husband and I took a younger couple from work to a baseball game with us. The wife was pregnant with their first baby. She and I chatted about diapers and childcare. It wasn't until we were driving home that it occurred to me that they probably didn't see us as contemporaries but as their folks. Eek. At least I didn't mention my hot flashes to her.

I still think I'm fun. Hip in a midwestern kind of way. I work out. I haven't yet turned into that weird old woman on the corner who hoards cats and swills metamucil. But, I'm closer to her in years than I want to be.

I've always claimed that since my grandmother lived to be 103, I won't be middle-aged until I'm 51 1/2. That gives me 3 more years. But unless I start handing cards out to people I meet, they're not going to get that news flash. And the stiffness in my feet when I get up in the morning (what the heck is up with that?) is also a not-so-gentle reminder that these bones have been serving me well for nearly a half-century and they might be a little tired.

The seasons and years swim by and so much of the time I'm in too much of a hurry to stop and savor them. Here's my declaration: that rushing stops now. The leaves are gorgeous. There are apples to pick and birthdays to celebrate and even sore bones to attend to. My son will be home. And he still laughs at my jokes. We can sit out on the porch and have a beer and talk. And, because of the hot flashes, I might not even need a sweater.


The Writers' Group said...

You are so right, Judy. No need to rush, only to enjoy! I am older than most if not all my children's friends' parents, and forget how old I am all the time. So what if standing up after 15 minutes in mini chairs at parent conferences draws protest from my knees? If you don't tell, I won't either. We can all be hip together!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Hannah--it's a deal. And, as we all eventually learn, age has some perks, too.

Thanks for stopping by!