Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wednesday's Words for December 18, 2018

Yesterday our oldest son turned forty-six. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was forty-six. In truth, there are only eighteen years between my son and I. I do recall that at one time, likely when he was in his very early twenties and being a bit of a smart ass (a family trait), I told him it wasn’t entirely impossible that at some distant day down the road, we could end up living in the same old folk’s home.

At that point I was already using a cane to help me walk, and I shared with him a vision of a crotchety-tempered me waving that piece of wood in his direction—for emphasis, or just to underscore that the younger him should mind his Ps and Qs. In this imaginary tableau I was ninety-eight and he was eighty.

Theoretically, it could still happen.

I have a hokey little thing I do, usually, on the annual occasion of my kids’ birthdays. I call them and I sing the birthday song to them, deliberately off key and out of tune—and at the top of my lungs. I did call my son yesterday to wish him a happy birthday, and the first thing he said was not hello. It was, “please don’t sing. I’m at work and you’ll embarrass me.” I replied back that it would only be embarrassing if he put me on speaker phone. Nevertheless, I relented and instead just wished him the best on this day, part of the countdown, I informed him, to birthday number fifty.

He tried to convince me that no, no, he was counting down to forty. My son is a generally man of few words but an exceptionally quick wit. He could have inherited that trait from either my husband or myself. His dad is pretty fast with a come back, sometimes, too. Of course, I told him he could always claim forty with ten years experience, an idea he acknowledged then and there had merit.

Yes, smart-ass does run in our family, and proudly, too.

My son and his wife are going to Mexico over the Christmas break. I call it a break because my daughter-in-law is a teacher—an early childhood educator. She works for one of the school boards in the community to our north. This means she takes her vacation time when the schools do.

Since they will be gone between Christmas and New Year’s we’ll get together before the 25th for our annual Christmas-season supper. I used to host these gatherings, but the amount of work required to feed many mouths really is too much for me now.

I love cooking and I especially love feeding people. I don’t particularly love getting too old to do any of that. But I am getting older—those darn birthdays! —and I’ve decided to stop trying to pretend I can do the same amount of work I could do when I was in my thirties. I generally get things done—dishes, making the bed, various other house work tasks, and cooking. I just do it at a slower pace, and what I used to accomplish in an hour and a half now takes me at least twice as long, mostly because I need to take little breaks along the way.

I am grateful that I’ve never been one to just lay around and do nothing. I do like being busy, even if it means I’m busy doing chores. And there are only the two of us now, and not five of us, so that sort of…almost…counts for something toward less work than I used to have to do. Almost.

The thing is, aging happens to us all. We don’t know when we’re younger whether we’ll age well, or not. We don’t know if we’ll be hale and hardy, or not. You might think that being extremely health-conscious all your life means you automatically will have a graceful, and gracious September through December path to travel. But I don’t think it’s a given at all.

Like with other situation in life, the only thing you have the power to guarantee is your attitude.

I don’t generally waste much time bemoaning my difficulties. I admit them, and then move on. I do the best I can do and will continue to do so for as long as I can.

 And I will continue to cherish each new day—be it an ordinary day or a son or daughter’s birthday—for the amazing gift that it truly is.


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