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Accepting the Adventures of Aging

There seems to be no way to deny the realities of aging. OK, I get it. I accept those little lapses of memory, the declining hearing, and less than secure walking. Unfortunately, I seem to have turned a new and dreadful corner. My grandsons now feel a compulsive need to “tattle” on me to their father (who happens to be my son). David telephones and the conversation begins with, “Mom, the boys tell me that . . .” Drat those pesky little 6’5” and 6’2” boys.

I tell myself, “Those little guys want to help their grandma. How sweet.” Another voice silently insists, “I want to do this (the subject of their tattling)! I do not need their protection!” However, whether or not I want their help, I am now convinced that their plans to take care of their antique grandmother will not be going away any time soon. Can I adjust to this new subtitle in the chapter?

With this realization comes an avalanche of emotions. Pride that these grandchildren have grown into young men who care, gratitude for the love and patience of my own children, and sadness that my “job” as caregiver no longer seems needed or wanted. Did I not come here to protect and to guide? What the heck happened?

I suspect that all older people sometimes wonder if life will outstrip finances. Even more relevant to me, the question becomes whether I will outlive all usefulness; all-purpose. It does not seem enough to send good thoughts and prayers. And so, with no small amount of grief, I seek to accept this new phase.

I end by sharing that on several occasions over these holidays, I looked at the faces of those I love down our long table: my husband, our children, and grandchildren. As they shared ideas, laughed, and enjoyed a meal together, I gave thanks for a moment of pure love; total gratitude. Those moments became my private heaven. Do I dare complain about anything? I think not.


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