It’s no secret that I’m not exactly young anymore. I’m sixty years old, and could easily pass for a few years older than that (sagging chins and wrinkly skin runs in my family.) I know I don’t have the strength and stamina I used to have; I never go anywhere without a pair of reading glasses, and I avoid mirrors whenever possible. So you can see that I really do understand that I’ve become, shall we say, “a woman of a certain age.”
Which is why I can’t quite explain how shocked I was when I realized that my son, (the youngest of my two “children,”) had the audacity to turn thirty this past weekend. I don’t remember being quite this surprised a couple of years ago, when my daughter turned thirty, although maybe that was because at that time I could take comfort in the thought that at least one of my offspring was still in his twenties. But my son is my youngest, and now he’s thirty. How in the world did that happen? When did my baby boy become a thirty-year old man?
I know it’s sounds beyond cliche, but it really does seem like just yesterday when he was just a little guy, full of energy, fun and endless curiosity. I remember how he struggled to pronounce the letter “r” which always made him sound as if he was speaking with a southern drawl. He could be stubborn when it suited him, but that wasn’t always a bad thing. If he was interested in something, he threw himself into it with his whole heart. Once when I was picking him up from preschool, the teacher handed me a large paper bag to take home, filled with that day’s art project. Apparently, the children had been asked to paint a picture on a coffee can lid. All the other children painted one. My son painted nineteen of them.
But now my son and daughter are all grown up and their childhoods are mere memories. Now we’re all adults. Sometimes I struggle with just how much advice I’m allowed to give at this stage of our lives, and exactly where the line is between being helpful and being intrusive. As a mother, I think I’ll always worry and want them to take good care of themselves and make wise decisions. But our role as a parent changes and evolves as our children grow up and become independent adults. All I can say is that I try my best to say and do the right thing. And I’m beyond grateful that I raised two forgiving souls who are willing to overlook the times I get it just a little bit wrong.
So yes, now I am definitely an “older” woman, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that is perfectly okay. This stage of life allows me to focus more on myself and to follow my own interests. And when I look at the fine young man my son has become, I find that I really don’t mind so much that he just happens to be thirty years old…..