I’ve been more aware of the different stages in people’s lives around me.
Most of my friends are married. I have a few divorced or widowed friends, but the majority have a spouse. I’m a bit envious. That’s where I imaged my life would be as I passed middle age now.
Many of my friends are empty-nesters. Their children are off at college, or graduated and starting careers. Some of their kids are married. There are a few with older children still at home, but they are getting fewer.
This past week, I’ve had a friend, Sally, turn 50 and another, Katie, turn 60. I happen to fall between their ages. Both are relatively new grandparents. The love for their grand babies is apparent in the smiles, gushing, and general pride of their children’s offspring.
My single friends who are divorced split their time with their kids between the other parent. I don’t know how that feels. I’m sure sometimes loneliness is their companion, but it does allow for some alone time for themselves.
This week, I had a friend from my single group, go camping with her boyfriend. Her Facebook posts made me smile. How sweet it is to discover the idiosyncrasies of another person. I look forward to that.
I wonder about the few people I know who are haven’t married. Do they feel as I do? Precious time slipping away and the longing to belong to another before death comes. Some singles never feel the need for marriage, happy plugging along with their life. I do understand the freedom to do whatever with the free time without having to ask anyone opinion. It’s a ‘me’ centered lifestyle. I am experiencing it too. I’m happy to spend time alone when I like and find activities to do when I feel like being with people.
This week, I watched a young couple enjoying the beauty of a child. Conversations seem to be centered around eating, sleeping, and playing. I smiled understanding that working and raising a family is a bit stressing, but the joy of experiencing each second is priceless. How fast the time flies! When you’re experiencing the daily routines, it seems as if it’ll go on forever, but before you expect it, they’re grown and off, and you’ll wonder how it went so fast.
I love being a mom, but a mom’s role changes as a child ages. At first, we simply teach and love, but gradually a hand is let go and freedom is given. Hopefully, we set forth an example to be followed and improved on. Love is there, but adulthood is too. I love the man my son is and the one I know he will grow to be. A thirty minute phone call from Cameron to simply talk about work, pets, and what’s going on in our life connects us when distance separates us.
I’ve enjoyed looking at all the pictures of families doing things on Spring break. Cooking with their mom, geocaching, cruises, movies, and spending time with grandparents. So many little snatches of their lives posted, comes together like a mosaic of life. Frozen memories on a timeline.
Transitions are bound to hit every one’s life. Mine at this point makes me feel out of control. I go from eating everything in sight to forgetting to eat. I try to remind myself that from every situation I’ve grown toward God and that He holds me dear. This change is bound to bring positive change.
I’ve spent the Spring break week working on the house to sell. I’ve had a list to follow, but doing one thing on the list leads to doing another task that’s not on the list. I’ve worked endlessly this week and I do see progress, but I’m so tired and my body is sore from going up and down the ladder, painting, and generally being on my feet most of the day. My arms have been getting their workout!
Cameron came home for two days. The first one, we simply enjoyed each other’s company, but the second one, we went through his room, cleaning out closets and trying to pare down what to keep from his childhood and what to let go. I smiled as a few childhood books that we read to him when he was young was kept as mementos. He handed them to me and I couldn’t help smiling. Sweet memories.
Going through plastic bins in the garage, I found my own childhood treasures. As I opened the plastic tub, I laughed! There were treasures from a very early season in my life. What in the world possessed me to tuck these things away?
A much-loved stuffed tiger with one eye missing and matted hair. A very sixties flower print Tutu, I just had to have from Goodwill when I was about five or six because I wanted to be a dancer. A few dolls, now with very deteriorated eyes, had to go, except one. A plastic jewelry box with tiny rings and junk jewelry, I picked through. Baby clothes and blankets, I kept. I have to admit, I rescued the tutu from the garage sale pile and it’s back in my room.
At the bottom of the bin, I found the sign that I wore when I met John. (Yes, I’m a bit sappy!) His name is to the left of ‘Dorothy.’ After 35 years, I finally threw it away, but I did take a picture to treasure.
Another week and I should be finished and ready to put the house for sale. I’m glad because I’m emotionally and physically tired. Tears were an outlet at church today. I could feel them bubbling up on Friday and I should have let them go. Instead, I held them in and they found their way out when I felt the most vulnerable. I hate showing that part of myself. I’m the ‘suck it up and deal with it girl.’
Thankful for Cheryl and Ty who happened to walk to where I was sitting. (Thank you God, I needed contact). She held my hand. Isn’t it funny that such a small gesture can have a huge impact on our soul? God built us for relationships. Congregation singing today of “Amazing Grace…My Chains Are Gone” made me think of John. It helped.
Wisdom comes through the many experiences of our lives. We learn that wisdom through trials and over coming them. One of my favorite verses is Romans 5:3-4
And not only that, but we also rejoice in our affliction, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. (HCSB)
Sometimes, people share that wisdom. Sometimes, the wisdom is kept internally until it is needed to be shared. I can’t imagine being a Mom-in-law until that time comes. I won’t know what it is really like to be a grandparent until that happens. These are experiences that I’m joyfully anticipating experiencing.
Most of my friends have no idea the state of loneliness widowhood brings. Divorce isn’t the same, except in its outcome of singleness. There’s a heart wrenching ache that etched itself in the soul as we are separated until death. Time does allow an adjustment to dealing with the hurt. Just as I can’t imagine how hard it must be to say goodbye to a child that is gone too soon or a parent that has taken their last breath. It’s these experiences that causes growth, and deepening our relationship with our Savior. We look for guidance and peace.
There are also physical seasons and I’m experiencing them. Gone are the carefree days of movement without thought and smooth skin.
Menopause…that’s probably a curse from Eve (my opinion only). All the lovely conditions that come with it the change in our bodies. My favorite; hot flashes (sarcasm). Nothing like the shared knowledge of smiles of women who are experiencing it too. If you see fanning and it’s not hot…think internal furnace.
Aging…. Graying hair; we either color, highlight, or let it go. Crows feet and wrinkles; I prefer to think of them as laugh lines. Gravity; no sense in even going there! The creaks of our bones and joints as we move and the groans that escape our lips as we bend, squat or sit. Age spots on the hands! Yuck! They once were referred to as liver spots, which sounds even worse.
Eyes that won’t focus until we either hold the book or paper arms stretch way back or as close as we can get it. ‘Cheaters’ are bought at the store to help magnify. We look for the ‘fashionable’ kind because we don’t want to look nerdy. Finally, we give in and actually go for an eye exam, only to find that we really do need bifocals to see.
Life experiences shape and change us, and age makes us appreciate what has come before and what is to come after. Seasons…life continues and how beautiful it is.