Tuesday, October 24, 2006


We were laying about like sloths on Saturday night watching something or other on TV, when a wedding scene flickered onto the screen. The divorced parents of the bride and groom were making awkward small talk when one ex asked the other, "Are you happy?"

The response was, "Of course I'm happy - we're at our son's wedding."

And that's the point at which my mind, as it so often does these days, wandered off on a little journey of its own. It went to the land of "there'll be no wedding for your son" very rapidly, before finally coming to rest in "you might not live to see your grandchildren" town.

Seriously. It's theoretically quite possible that I'll die before my grandchildren are born. If I got pregnant right now I wouldn't give birth until after my 37th birthday. If we started adoption proceedings right this second it would be longer than that. If our child ends up on the same timeline as we are for starting a family, I'd be in my mid 70s before its child was born.

I'm not planning on dying at 74, I'm just saying it's not beyond the realm of possibility to think that I won't last that long.

And even if I do, I'll be old. Way old. The grandparents of my generation were young when we were born (relatively speaking) and in many cases lived well into our adulthood. I lost my last living grandparent when I was 34, just a few months before giving birth to Thomas.

For my grandchild to have the same experience, I would have to live to be 108.

Call me pessimistic, but I have my doubts about my ability to manage that feat. I already feel old in body and spirit. I'm not sure if I can handle another 72 years.

This is the way it is these days. People are staying in school longer and working hard at building their careers, and as a result they're getting married and having children much later than they used to. I'm not saying education and careers are a bad thing. Not at all. I'm merely pointing out that in our quest to achieve personal greatness and self fulfillment before our time to do so runs out, we may have overlooked something very important.

That is, of course, that time will run out on something else.

We are older mothers - wiser maybe, and with much more life experience to pass on to our children - but we won't be here for them for as long as many of our own mothers will be here for us. We'll be great-grandparent age when our first grandchildren are born. We won't dance at their weddings. And we won't have a chance in hell of being in one of those once-popular four-generation photo shoots.

I'm not trying to start a debate and I'm not being judgmental - honest. I did it all too. I went to University and started a career and always felt young enough to conquer the world. Mortality, scrambled eggs and the rapid approach of 40 were a million miles away.

Until suddenly they weren't.

I don't regret the experiences I had and the choices I made before I married My Beloved at 32. I loved going to school and my early working years were fun and exciting. I grew into the person I am today because of the life I chose.

I just wish I wasn't so old.


Catherine said...

Sometimes I feel duped. I don't know by who...or why...but I feel it.

jogger blogger said...

I feel duped too. As a 36 year-old singleton, I feel even older (and according to most of the men my own age, I'm past the "35 year old" expiry date). So my current dating pool is in the mid-forties age range. How exactly did this happen?

Rosepetal said...

I feel pretty old too. The timing was all perfect and all of a sudden it isn't! It happened so quickly.

lauralu said...

i just turned 37, and have a 12-week-old son, and am trying to figure out how this happened this way. but the good thing is that it is making me serious about taking off the baby weight (and the stillbirth and miscarriage pregnancies weight, and the post-nuptial laziness weight) and start running so i can be around to at least meet my son's children. the weird thing is that at the age i am now, my mother was already giving me pre-teen fits, and she was a late bride for her generation. the mind boggles sometimes.

Kim said...

26 (I know, I guess I'm still a young pup? I certainly don't feel it) and still single. Possibly chronically.

But I am commenting to say that my grandparents were all older - my mother is the last of four kids, and my grandmother was 33 when she was born; my dad is the second of two and my grandmother was 36 when he was born. She didn't marry until she was 31.

(He was also a preemie, in 1952. I'm a little proud of him. :) )

I guess I say all that to say I didn't know any different growing up, and we had many, many good years with my grandparents (save for my father's dad, who died when my dad was nine - but he had a heart attack...). My first grandparent didn't die until I was 16; I have one still alive. My only great grandparent I knew lived until I was 21. She died at the age of 102.

So even though time seems to suck, a lot, I guess I am saying that your children AND your grandchildren will be blessed to have you, when they arrive. And they will just know that you love them - they won't pay a lick of attention to age.

smashedpea said...

Heh, I worry about this, too. It's funny how society has changed so quickly. I know my mom sure had problems getting used to the idea of me having a kid when I was already in my mid-thirties. And we haven't told her yet that we plan on another one soon :)

But I have no regrets. I wasn't ready to have a kid in my twenties. But it's the right thing for me now, even if that means I'll be old when the little Doodlebum has kids of her own (if she ever does in the first place).

And hi, I've been lurking for the last little bit.

Denise said...

You spoke to my heart...I needed some perspective today.Thanks.

Sherry said...

I go off on those little journeys, too. I've thought about all of this so much, wondering how I got here and where the time has gone.

Woman who knits said...

I'm right there with you. I always find myself saying, "If we only started trying sooner . . " Who knows, I still might be dealing with infertility, but I feel it's my body kicking my ass b/c it's getting older.

As far as being old when our grandkids are around, my grandmother is 86 and is one of the "youngest" people I know! We'll all be fine!!!