“Would you like to be younger? I mean, is there an age you’d rather be than the one you are right now?” Sarah asked.
An afternoon outing with two of my daughter-in-laws turned into a bit of a philosophical discussion.
“Not particularly. I like where I am at this time in my life. I’m enjoying my adult kids and the grandbabies. My business is established, Dad and I are happy. It’s a good place to be. I like the age I am.” And for the most part, that is the truth.
In many ways, my life is much simpler than it was 30 years ago….
I don’t miss waking up for 3am feedings. Carpools weren’t really a joy ride. Science projects were the bane of my existence – can’t you just put some dirt in a cup and call it a day? I stopped being any real assistance to my kids in math when they hit the 6th grade. It’s not my gift. The mini-van smelled like old French fries and there were always lost books or single shoes without a match five minutes before we needed to leave for church. Not a whole lot there I’d care to re-live.
But there were sweet times that I do miss.
Cheering them on from the Little League bleachers was a great good time. I became their biggest fan, standing and hollering their names as they rounded the bases – I miss that. Knowing how to cheer them on these days is more complicated. I’m not sure I always get it right.
The closeness that came as I cradled them, half asleep, in the rocker, for those middle of the night feedings was the absolute best. Little milky mouths, half open, smiling through heavy eyelids. Beautiful. Intimate. Connected. Our busy schedules – theirs and mine – make that connection a greater challenge these days. We are all adults, we see some things differently, and the diversity of our perspectives can create distance if we are not careful.
Even if we are.
One of my favorite experiences with my boys as they grew up came when they were teenagers. When they had been out for the evening, they knew the light in our room would always greet them when they came in the door. A slight tap on the door, and then they’d stretch out on the foot of our bed and share the evening’s events. For the most part, anyway – to the comfort level of all parties involved. That end of the night conversation was a sweet one. I miss that.
There were other experiences as a mom I savor: graduations, holidays, watching my sons fall in love and marry sweet girls and begin careers and families.
I am grateful for the young men my sons have become. They are loving, funny, and family oriented. They live nearby, for which I am grateful beyond words. I know that might not last forever. Careers or other opportunities and interests may take them to new places. And I’d be excited for them if that were to occur, but for the moment, it’s great to be able to spend time together. At the end of the day, we know how blessed we are for this time.
Would I prefer to have less gray in my hair, and fewer concerns with cholesterol and live without some of the rudest medical procedures known to man? Sure. I cringe more over the photos with giant shoulder pads and poufy hair from my 20’s than I do over the pictures taken with my family in my 50’s. Are there decisions for which I’d like a do-over? A couple. I’d sure re-think the wall we painted raspberry pink and the gray/mauve color palette in my living room in the 80’s.
But in the grand scheme of life, I am content. I’m definitely wiser than I was in my 20’s and 30’s. Experience will do that for you. The longer I walk with the Lord, the more faithful I understand Him to be, regardless of my mistakes or poor judgment. God continues to expand my territory, taking me places I never anticipated. Life in Him is good.
Most importantly, I believe that at this moment in my life, I recognize that when you set your heart on the things of God, the rest of your life comes together. Less push, more pull. Less striving, more trusting. More peace, less panic – most days, at least.
Some things, however, never change. As parents, we still stand and call out their names as they “round the bases” in their grown up lives. We hold them before the throne, cheering them on, celebrating their successes and offering our shoulders when disappointment finds them. We pray for God’s protection, guidance and goodness to come to them. We are still their biggest fans.
“The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!” Ps 16:6