Sunday, December 18, 2005

Growing old

I'm not sure if it's the coming of the new year, the fact that I'm closing in on 30, the wonderful recent posts about grandmothers that I've read from Roo and Jen, or something totally unrelated, but I've been thinking a lot lately about growing old. I'm not really worried about it so much as just increasingly aware of its inevitability. Before now, I think I was in that nice haze of I'm so young....I'll never be old....I'll never worry about my body and mind falling apart. But lately, it sort of sits in the back of my mind all the time. When I read posts about grandmothers, I wonder what sort of old woman I'll be....will I do it gracefully...or will I get pissed off and more resentful as every year brings one more element of everything that I cannot do? Will I be able to embrace it with release and watch my daughter and her children take over the family traditions, or will I always be in her business and on her back...trying to exert the past onto the present? I know I can resolve to be a certain way, but when I'm really there, will I be able to pull it off?
Maybe its just another symptom of the holidays, as I hear endless tales of what people my age have chosen to do on Christmas...still succumbing to their childhood traditions, or vehemently establishing their own as they start their young families or somehow finding a way to gracefully combine the two. I wonder what it will feel like, the first time that Little A declares that she's not coming home for Christmas, that I'm welcome to come, but that she wants to have Christmas morning for her kids in her own home. I wonder if I'll be able to brave through this without tears....as I go to her home instead of having her come home, watching her make magic for her own child(ren), remembering how her eyes used to glow the entire Christmas season when she was so young and so sweetly innocent that a midnight stocking stuffing would make her heart soar. I hope that I will be that perfect grandmother....the one who knows just what to do so that everyone, especially my Little A, anticipates my arrival with glee, rather than dread. I wish I could peek into the future, just for moment. Just to see.
But I've never even had the imagination to do it. My mind is hopelessly realistic when I try to envision such things. I remember, even with my first love, my high school/college boyfriend A...I could never envision us marrying. And it would make me so sad. I could see a wedding, a dress, relatives, but the person standing next to me....who I willed in my heart to look like him, was almost formless. The man refused to take his shape and I knew that it was always a sign. We loved each other, but we would never last. Even when it seemed like it would, I knew it wouldn't.
I had the same problem with Little A's dad. Though we did marry, and assumed that we would be together until the end....I could never envision us older. I couldn't imagine for one second what we would be like when we were in our 40's, even 30's. I ignored that one for a long time, until it became painfully clear just why I could not see us older...we could have never been older together. As long as we were together we would be in our twenties, never really growing, never really being whoever either of us was headed for.
This is the most striking change in my thoughts of growing older. For a long time, even when we were in the days of heated fighting, I could always see N and I together, old. I can see us clutching to each other for stability as we walk a block down the street for the early bird special at a diner. I can see us sitting together in a cozy living room...we're wrinkly and tired looking, but he's still watching his endless parade of crime shows and I'm still knitting. He's still making me laugh with his little pranks and hysterical stories. Its so very clear that its startling to me. Startling to feel so warm and stable that it projects into the future. Even though it scares me a little, I love it.
And I hope it's true. I know that the old woman that I want to become will be much more possible if we can maintain this love. That the love will let me know that its ok to watch Little A grow into an amazing woman.....that the love will allow me to let go a little outwardly, even though inwardly I'll cling to every moment I'll have ever had with her. That the love will allow itself to be molded so that I might become her best friend and N's best friend even when I still want to protect them every second of every day. I hope the love will help me grow old.

7 Comments:

Anonymous roo said...

sniffle... sniffle... Sob!

I am so happy for you! I am so happy you have found the person you've been looking for. I can't think of anyone more deserving of such a happy fate!

Besides, he's pretty amazing. Nice choice!

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Very nicely written. Between you and Jen and Roo (and several other blogs I've read lately that have similar bittersweet posts), I've spent more time getting emotional over blogs in this past week! But I think it's a good thing.

I do think about aging a lot -- I had sort of an early/young mid-life crisis in my 20s when I realized I had to grow up and start acting like an adult (not a responsibility-less college student.) I still have a hard time picturing myself as an old person, though. I think because I do tend to think more about the past than the future. I hope too I'll be a good mother as my kids grow, and a tolerant and helpful grandmother to my grandchildren. I want that to be my legacy.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

Some days I still feel like I am 20 and when I realize that I am 35 and have a 7 year old child, I am actually suprised.

I was looking at my husband recently and said "It's been 14 years and I still LIKE you"

I'm not sure I would have Liked anyone else as much as I do him.
Thanks for helping me remember that!

3:50 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

awe, v! roo's right! sniffle sniffle sob! lol :) i also agree that you are so worthy of such happy love! you two sure worked hard enough to get there!

and uh, i had to stop reading for a moment when i got to the part about little A not coming home for christmas when she has her own family! i had to stop reading b/c i couldnt see thru the tears in my eyes!!!!!!
MWAH!

3:57 PM  
Blogger V said...

Thanks for all your kind comments!

Roo-N *is* pretty amazing...they always say you can't change a man, but I guess sometimes he can change himself....when its important to him. :)

Nancy....lol....I know about the getting emotional over these posts...it's defintely a sign of the times when you're crying in front of the computer, huh? I bet you'll be a wonderful grandmother, as you already seem to have the wonderful mother part down!

Dawn...seriously...how old does having a 7 year old make you feel? I never can beleive it myself. And how great is that to still like him so much....after all that time....it must be even better than those first flutters of love.

Mel...yup...a little bit of a hard one relationship, but its defintely proving to be worth the struggle. I just honestly cannot beleive how he's grown lately. He'll say things that just knock me over. And....I actually canNOT allow myself to think about Little A being so grown that she won't be home for Christmas TOO much....oye...I'd be a mess!

6:48 AM  
Blogger SO said...

Awe, I knew this post would make me cry when I started to read it yesterday!!! I always think about what kind of Grandmother I want to be for K's kids. I always think about what kind of mother I want to be when she's an adult. I get so frustrated with my own parents, and both sets of K's grandparents. They don't make any effort to be a part of her life, we have to kind of force it upon them. It's disappointing. I hope I can live up to be the kind of grandmother I wish Kailee had.

7:55 AM  
Blogger V said...

Yeah SO....those kinds of grandparents seem so odd to me. Little A's are so insanely thrilled by every little move she makes. I defintely want to be that way!

9:18 AM  

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