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As They Grow Up, We Grow Old [Nov. 8th, 2014|05:01 pm]
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Having a kid who's over 30 means every birthday sparks thoughts of one's own age far more than it did when said kid was three.  I didn't consider his birthdays linked to my age when he was shorter than I was (even when he got to be taller.)   He was kid, I was parent, kids grow up and...we just sort of stick somewhere until they're out of high school.

But, of course, that's not true.  Every year the kid has a birthday and grows not just up, but older.  Every year every parent has a birthday, too.  From a thirty-something when he was born, I became a sixty-something, year by year gaining that one year he gained.  Same for my husband.   That thirty-something person didn't have any gray hairs yet.  Didn't have the skin lesions.  Hadn't yet been bucked off and kicked in the rear on the way to the ground, leaving some permanent hip damage.  That thirty-something person wore glasses (and had for thirty years) but had no cataracts or other vision difficulties.  Still had the very low BP, the "naturally" slower heart rate of the younger fitter self.

The thirty-something person had written, but not yet published, fiction that would in fact end up being published, and still in print.   Had at that point quit knitting, and had never knitted a sock (I have now...)   Still had a live mother, a live step-grandmother, and a live (if pretty much estranged from) father...none of them are alive now.   The thirty-something person had never been to all but one of the countries I've since visited.  So the thirty-something years since I was that person have not been empty years all on a downhill slope.  I've done a lot, enjoyed a lot, learned a lot (and enjoyed that), made new friends...and, inevitably, have gotten older.

We had a simple celebration today--a couple we've been friends with forty-something years now came up, and we had lunch and sang to the "kid" who isn't a kid anymore and went for a walk on a lovely fall day, and...we all have gray in the hair, and we're not exactly the same shape and we sure weren't about to play a little football or volleyball because there are gimpy knees,  cranked necks, sore shoulders,  vision problems, and various other things.   A walk out to see if we could ID the migrating songbirds (no--too many leaves still on the bushy trees, and smart birds staying well down in cover) --was more our speed.  But very pleasant.

A good day, a very good day indeed, when one's thirty-something "kid" is now a decent adult human being, and one's friends are still friends, and one's health is good enough to enjoy a meal with them, walk out and enjoy a field of grass blowing in the wind and birds flitting (inconveniently) through thick cover, their short alert calls not identifiable (except for the wrens: Carolina and Bewick's both.  They're resident year-round.)   The colors of rain-refreshed grass in the late slanting light, the brilliant red of a few late flowers, the soft purple of a vine on a rail fence.   Sixty-something is just fine.

[User Picture]From: labelleizzy
2014-11-09 06:52 am (UTC)
yes. I'm coming up on 45, and childless, but with children I love growing older, going to college, etc. definitely makes you think.

thank you for this.
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[User Picture]From: learnsslowly
2014-11-09 03:11 pm (UTC)
I read this nervously expecting to find a article complaining that as the child ages the parent feels older and how unfair this is to the parent. Sadly, there are parents who resent both children and grandchildren for "making them feel old" by being the age they are. Thank you so much for still loving your adult child. Adult children only have one alternative to getting a year older every year, and it is encouraging to find a parent who does not resent their adult child for getting older or complain about them doing so. Long may this continue. With very best wishes.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2014-11-09 08:22 pm (UTC)
The only alternative to growing older is...dying younger. Personally, I prefer growing older. I would rather not have the associated problems, I got some of them by way of fabulous experiences and wouldn't trade. Some were intrinsic, some accidental (nobody intended for me to have the encephalitis that nearly killed me, and I certainly didn't plan being bucked off that horse and kicked in the butt while in the air), some fall into "everybody" (in this region anyway) gets "that" (cataracts, sun damage, skin cancer.) Children are reminders and sometimes stressors, but I'd rather have had a stressful time raising an autistic kid than working for a bad boss or many other things. I consider growing older an achievement. There were some close calls. Lots of decisions I could've made differently and done "better" (maybe) but at least as many that would've made things worse.

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[User Picture]From: learnsslowly
2014-11-09 08:36 pm (UTC)
I've never heard a parent or grandparent actually say outright they wished their child had died instead of got older, but I've seen the despair on faces of adult children as their parents have ranted on in front of them about how dreadful it has made them feel that their adult child is now grey/adult/a parent themselves/suffering from some of the problems of middle/ old age/at a significant birthday and making them feel old. Feeling your parent doesn't love you/ cannot forgive you/is angry with you/ feels very hurt by you for continuing to age at 60 seconds a minute seems to be such a hopeless thing.
I wish I knew a way of making it better.
Thank you for your response as well as the original post.
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[User Picture]From: controuble
2014-11-09 04:04 pm (UTC)
A Happy Belated Birthday to M.

I turned thirty-mumble 6 weeks after I had my son. He's 18 now and not out of high school, yet (taking bio 2 and co-op work training in year 5 and he wants to take another year if they'll let him.) He wants to be a vet or at least a vet-tech.
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[User Picture]From: seekerval
2014-11-09 04:28 pm (UTC)
At 59, I can relate to your comments despite having no children of my own and needing to rely on my 38 nephews & nieces and their numerous offspring for comparisons and inspirations (and hugs).

I love your outlook. More inspirations there. Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: redvixen
2014-11-09 05:43 pm (UTC)
My daughter was born one week after my 22nd birthday and this upcoming year she turns 30. So our ages have been interlinked fairly tightly.

Yes, my body is no longer in shape but I would not want to be her. I have been the amazing recipient of a gift I see when I look at her and am thankful for having. She has brought more joy into my life than she will ever know and I do not begrudge her the life she has. I miss the child she used to be and am very proud of the adult she has turned into. She has turned out better than I hoped for.

So, yeah, fifty-something is just fine as well. :)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2014-11-09 08:37 pm (UTC)
My friends who had kids had them younger than I did, so I had some idea of the passage of time as their kids grew from infant size to "tall as my knee" and then my hip, and so on, but it didn't sink in really until ours was "up there."

So I had a little experience of being the childless woman among women with children in one cohort before I had one--and then I was old for a new mother, older than mothers of kids our son's age. (My mother, who grayed very early, was often asked if she was my grandmother.)

If you live long enough, you'll be old...with or without children.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2014-11-09 08:39 pm (UTC)
And I managed to place this under the wrong person's comment...SIGH.

Y'all can figure it out, I'll bet. I have Sunday-after-singing-brain, which isn't going to cope with moving a comment reply around.
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[User Picture]From: redvixen
2014-11-09 10:14 pm (UTC)
S'okay. :)

I'm actually on the old(er) side for being a mother in my family. My sisters were Moms at 16 and 17, my oldest sister was born when Mom was 17 (married at 16). My grandmother had her first child at 18, great grandmother was 16, etc backward. I;m also about ten years + older than most of my friends who have kids so all their kids are just entering or leaving the teen years.

Kids are great for helping you stay young at heart and in spirit. Sure we all get old but there's getting older physically and getting older in attitude. I'm lucky to be from a family that handles physical aging well, people always thought Mom was 10-20 or so years younger than she really was and I get the same reactions.

Then I open my mouth and people think I'm wise and well-balanced for my "age". Lol.
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[User Picture]From: mrs_redboots
2014-11-09 09:44 pm (UTC)
My father is 30 years older than me (3 months later), and now, at 91, is increasingly frail - but as he says, it's better than the alternative! We are lucky that we have four generations, and my grandsons have great-grandmothers on both sides of their family.

We are always amused that, while my father is 30 years older than me, my husband, daughter and elder grandson are all 30 years apart in age! So if we know how old one of them is, we know how old the others are.
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[User Picture]From: redvixen
2014-11-09 10:17 pm (UTC)
Lol. My family goes by 7 and 8 year differences. Not quite as easy to figure out but rough guesses are pretty good.
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[User Picture]From: gifted
2014-11-11 12:30 am (UTC)
I respect and admire the way in which you enjoy (and have enjoyed) your life, and find it rather inspiring towards the matter of looking forward to the rest of mine (I'm 35, so somewhere in the middle of all that).

Nice post, thanks for sharing.
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