Aging-ish

aging (2)

My blue jeans are just a little snugger over my hips in the mornings and the face I see staring back at me in the mirror is a little less fresh and dewy than it once was.  My focus seems to have shifted startlingly while I wasn’t really paying attention.  Birthdays used to bother me only insofar as they were usually forgotten by people I had hoped would remember.  I think at one time I believed I would never be any older than 9 and I would always have a sense of “belonging” in the world – if not owning it – as I did when I flew down the street on the green Schwinn I shared with my sister.  When I turned 20 years old, my Uncle Mikey shared a now-sobering thought with me.  He said, “It feels like it takes forever to get to twenty, and the next time you look up, you’re fifty.  So enjoy!”  I remember that comment being accompanied by a big hug and followed by a bigger laugh….more than 20 years ago!  It seems like it was just yesterday.

*****

Years ago I was with a group of pre-schoolers (my favorite age of kids to work with) and was feeling like quite a youngster myself as I helped several children to build LEGO airplanes in the block area of a classroom.  Everything was going well – lots of giggles and helpful comments among the builders – when a very charming little guy asked me, “Whose grandma are you?”  Pierced straight through the heart (I don’t think I was 30 yet), I sputtered, “I’m no one’s grandma; I’m not even anyone’s mom!!”  The boy responded matter-0f-factly, “Then why do you have them cracks in your face?”  I experienced a twinge of alarm before I realized he was talking about the “character lines” on my face.  Not knowing what to say, I went over to see what was happening at the puzzle table.

*****

Sitting at the lunch table with a group of 4- and 5-year old children, I was witness to a conversation they were having about what they were doing for their mothers for Mothers Day.  Deja asked me if I had any children, and when I answered that I did not, she asked if I had a dog or a cat.  “Yes!”, I said, “I have a dog.”  Deja smiled sweetly and said, “Then you are a dog mom.”  Brenda, another child at the table, made a disdainful face and stated, “That doesn’t make her a mom; that makes her a farmer!”

*****

Aging itself isn’t what bothers me.  I shudder to think of the opportunities I have let slip by me in my efforts to grow up.  Yeah, it’s somewhat daunting to see the lines that have appeared on my face and the not-so-stray strands of gray that highlight what used to be decidedly chestnut brown hair.  The thought that I would ever look like an “old lady” never entered my mind until recently.  What does bother me is the nagging pull in my gut that I haven’t “lived up to my potential”.  No graduate degrees, no children, no book deals, no exalted titles.  Going in one direction with certainty will, eventually,  inevitably find me wondering what might have been if only…  It is not a question of regretting my choices (well, not most of them); it is a sense of sorrow  – the loss of what might have happened on the road not taken – of wishing I could do everything I ever wanted to do and having the time and energy for all of it.

*****

I was helping out in a classroom of 5-year-olds whom I had gotten to know fairly well.  The children in this class were a joy to be around.  The schedule had us heading out to the playground and, as I moved toward the merry-go-round, twenty children followed me.  They piled onto it and began asking, even begging, me to push them around “real fast”.  After several attempts to honor this request only to have kids flying off or maintaining only a tenuous grasp on the play equipment, I had to be an adult.  I told them in a semi-stern voice that, if they wanted me to push them “real fast”, they would have to find a spot on the merry-go-round and hold on very tight. Talk about raining on their parade.  They perceived this a very unreasonable, but, seeing that I meant business, they eventually got themselves positioned for safe fun.  I began to push them in a circle, very slow at first and then faster as the kids began to fuss about it.  Then I was running as fast as I could without killing myself,  The kids were flying!  As I stepped away to watch  and listen to the kids enjoying themselves, a child named Rudolfo, who was right in the middle of the merry-go-round, yelled, “Miss Frances, you run like a teenager!”  I don’t care how loud the teachers were laughing – that comment made my day and Rudolfo is a child I will always remember.

*****

In my head I can do flawless back flips down a hallway, create the next BIG THING, raise incredible children, foster world peace, write a book worth publishing, cure cancer…

and

in my heart there is a dreamer who will probably always be nine-years-old.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Aging-ish

  1. I loved this post! Being someone who looks much younger than what I actually am, my age usually ends up a topic of interest. Just today I was sitting in the waiting room at my daughter’s dentist when an older lady sat down across from me and she looked at me and said, “Ah, to be young.” And I smiled at her and said, “I’m actually not that young.” And then we got to discussing our ages. lol She was 88. I told her she didn’t look it. And then she said, “So I look 87?” She was hilarious. Great post 🙂 Hope everything is going well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I expect you’ll feel relatively-younger when next you see how much relatively-more I now resemble Dad than I used to. Not all of us have aged as well as you.

    But we’re all still kicking. And dreaming, some, I hope.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s