As in: I am a woman of a certain...
As in: I am an older parent of older parents. A member of a stretched out sandwich generation. A hoagie, a grinder, a foot-long, as it were. With boys still in the single-digits (for a few months longer anyway) and a mother fast approaching her 90th birthday (while fading away before my eyes), I think about age a lot.
I ask myself "What was I thinking?" having my kids at 42, when the alarm rings on a school morning at 5:45 and my Peri-menopausal insomnia has kept me up well past two.
But as my sleepy guy gives me a hug after his initial growl, intones "Good morning, Mommy" in his sing-song voice, I remember: this.
I was thinking of this, and what I would miss if I didn't jump at my last good chance.
I don't do the math anymore.
I used to calculate: When the boys are Bar Mitsvahed at 13? I'll be 55, and my mom will be 93...
High School graduation? Boys 18, me 60, Mom 98.
College graduation: 22, 64, 102.
Their weddings? Well, that's anyone's guess. But, most certainly? Me: OLD. (And Mom? Beyond unlikely.)
You see how it became problematic in so many ways.
Jacob's trajectory is anything but straightforward. The Bar Mitzvah can probably be accomplished at 13. With tutoring and accommodations. But those others? Not even really on my radar, autism the biggest monkey wrench imaginable to be thrown into future plans.
Jake is on his own timetable, biological and mental/emotional ages matching up at some points and diverging wildly at others. He is his own constellation, and the itinerary of that firmament is still so unknown and unknowable. Jake will do things on Jake's time. Enough.
Even Ethan, without autism's schedule-skewering influences may stray from the straightforward march of life. Who knows?
And then there's my mother's age, already stretching towards the horizon.
"Why not 100?" I had asked her, just a short year ago. But I can see how unlikely that is to happen now, how much this year has taken away, diminished her.
And also unspoken here, when I began these calculations, in my sons' infancy? My father was still living and part of the equation. He made it to their pre-school graduations. To their 7th birthday party. Not beyond.
He would have been 98 at their Bar Mitzvah. Not impossible, as initially calculated. But not to be.
And me? I am charting my own waters here. Nearly 52. A mother, easily old enough to be her children's grandmother. But not.
Looking younger (a mixed blessing, an oft-used excuse for my immaturities). Some days feeling like a kitten; others as old as those proverbial hills. (Especially on ones when my boys want me to play basketball.)
In the last year of his life, when my father could still speak, before the final downward spiral when words sifted out their meanings from him, he shared with me this wondrous thing:
At 92, looking in the morning mirror, he would still find himself, some days, astonished to see an old man looking back at him. Because inside, he said (pointing to his head, his heart) is a young man of 22.
Forever and always.
I am participating in Momalom's 5 for 5 link-up and the prompt for today, Thursday, was “Age.”