Growing Older – Feeling Younger

16 May

: Fountain of Youth Park.

It was about 4 years after I had moved to the city about 2 hours drive away from the small town where I grew up.  On a weekend visit to see my parents, I noticed something interesting.  I noticed that my parents appeared young and vibrant.  I didn’t think much of it, but later, I ran into a few of my friends parents at the local rink.  Interestingly, they too looked great.  Even their clothes looked nicer.  It dawned on me then that maybe the fact that their teens had all moved out was the thing that made such a difference.

Now, 25 years later, with 3 teens living under my roof, I look in the mirror and think, that person looks kind of familiar.  Once a person who received regular compliments on my great looking hair, I now notice the tell tale ridge of grey hair sprouting from my temples, always the first sign that a color is overdue.  The sad part is that I started noticing the greys weeks ago, and still have done nothing about it.  As I get dressed for work, my heel gets caught in the hem of my pants.  This hem has been falling out little by little for months, but have I fixed it?  No.  A stitch in time will save nine.  I can almost hear my Grandma saying, and a wave of guilt washes over me as I think about what a perfect home my Grandma kept, and then thought of mine, and all the short cuts I take.  Quickly I remind myself that Grandma did not work outside of the home.  Okay, I feel a little better.  But then I stop in front of the full length mirror for one hurried glance before rushing downstairs.  Ew, I really need to find some time to exercise a little…maybe a lot.  It’s not that I am overweight, but all evidence that this was once a toned body, gone.  Oh well, no time to dwell on this now.  Down the hall to wake the kids.  Hurry up guys, it’s time for breakfast.  The bus will be here soon and you haven’t even made your lunch yet.  At 13, 15, and 18 they are certainly old enough to make their own lunches, but knowing that occasionally one of them will go all day with no food because they ran out of time to make their lunch, I breath a heavy sigh and start to make sandwiches.  Even that is not straight forward.  One will only eat turkey with mayo, another ham with mustard, and the third will only eat jam.  Glancing at the clock I realize that I’m now already 15 minutes behind schedule.  Wrapping the sandwiches and leaving a stack of brown paper lunch bags on the table beside them, I shout to the kids telling them to hurry one more time.  I hate that I have to leave for work before they catch the bus, I never feel quite certain they will actually make it to school.  Hastily, I grab a banana… I hate bananas… but I have to eat, and once again there is no time for breakfast.  At the door, I search for my shoes.  “Girls, did one of you borrow my new black shoes?  I don’t have time for this!”  Realizing that I really don’t have time for this, I slip on the old worn out shoes that should have been thrown in the dumpster a year ago.  Out the door I go, looking much more dishevelled than dignified.  If I had more time to think about it I might be depressed…thank God for small mercies.

I start the car and instantly I’m hit by a blast of something loud and obnoxious the kids call music.  Adjusting the radio, mirrors, and seat, I brace myself for the 50 minute commute, when I notice that the gas tank, while not quite empty, will certainly not get me all the way to the office.  Off to the gas station I go, now 25 minutes behind.  At least the gas station has good coffee.

At last, I’m on the highway.  The sun is finally coming up shedding some light on the cold winter morning.  Oh crap, I think I liked it better in the dark.  There, on the floor of the SUV that I try to keep clean, are wrappers from McDondalds and Taco Bell.  I thought I smelled something funky.  They know the rules, clean it out when you’re done!  Is that so much to ask!?  Okay, don’t get angry, there’s no point, just take a deep breath and enjoy the coffee.

People ask me if I hate the long drive to work, and honestly, I don’t.  I actually cherish the peaceful drive, listening to the news and current affairs.  Just as I was enjoying the news, my cell makes a soft but distinct sound that I have learned to despise.  A text.  I hate the text message.  I hate the whole concept, it just takes too much effort.  The only people who text are the kids.  Why can’t they just phone?  So Mom, about that party, can I go?  I’m driving, I should not be texting, so I keep my response brief.  No.  Please.  I do not respond.  I’ll clean the bathroom.  I am doing my best to ignore her.  I’ll clean up all the dog poo in the yard.  A few more minutes pass.  Please Mom.   OMG Mom, why don’t you answer me?   I decide to continue ignoring her.  She knows I hate texting.  It’s so much easier to just talk.  Besides, I already answered her question didn’t I?

Finally, I pull in to the parking lot at work.  25 minutes late, just as I predicted.  No problem, I’ll just stay 25 minutes longer at the end of the day, just before I rush to the store to pick up groceries, again.  The stomach of a teen is never full!  Sigh.  All this and it’s only8:25.  So, while I have spent several years wishing I could be younger, or at least stop aging, I am now finding myself dreaming of the day when I am 10 years older, when I will look and feel 10 years younger.

I wrote this a few years ago, and now, my kids are a little older and I really am starting to feel just a little younger!  Could the empty nest be the fountain of youth??


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