Monday, June 21, 2010

There is a Season

So today I finally make it to my annual physical. It only took me three years to get there. The doc, who I swear I don't resent for being a couple years younger than me and ridiculously nimble in the witty banter department, chides me for neglecting my health and not racking up more copays. When I am nonplussed, she nails me. "You want to take care of your kids?" she asks. "You need to take care of yourself. You are not young anymore."

Wow. I don't disagree with a word she said. In fact, I agree too much.

What day does it happen? Your 30th birthday, do you wake up not young anymore? Or is it less a date and more a milestone -- like once your child outgrows 18M clothes, graduates to 2T, you don't have a baby anymore?

My husband laughed when I told him that the doctor drew blood I still needed, shot me in the other arm, then stabbed me through the heart with her honesty. "She don't know nothin'" he reassured me, knowing how I love a little Southern for comfort. But he's an LA boy. He also pulled out a little industry wisdom. "I was listening to Dustin Hoffman talk about how they don't offer him lead roles at his age. He said, 'So I'm middle aged, what can you do?' And his father roared, 'Middle aged? How many guys you know who are 120 years old?!' Cheer up, babe. You're still plenty young."

The grandmothers in my life lived into their nineties. Next month I will be 39. I'm not young anymore, it's true. I am middle aged. My babies will soon be too big for clothes with a T after the size. I feel funny shopping at the Gap. Sometimes, I confess, I buy from Talbots. When did this all happen?

But the truth of the matter is: I have more in my life than I ever dared to hope. My cynical preteen self stared at the board game LIFE my cousins liked to play and believed in my heart that the little plastic piece of my life would never have more than my own pink peg inside it. The day I married my husband filled me with more joy than I thought a human body could physically contain without igniting. And tonight, because of what began as an annoying scheduling snafu and a sudden change in ABA services, we all found ourselves home for the day before dinner time, so we enjoyed a special meal around the backyard table, the California golden sunlight streaming through the branches of the camphor and lemon trees. Now, our bellies full of veggies, grilled pork chops, and fresh squeezed lemonade, we are each doing our thing. Peaches rides her scooter, Roo swings on his rope swing, J sips his Pacifico and smiles at me blogging on my netbook in my PJs.

I don't too much mind not being young anymore, really. Like my mama likes to say, I earned these gray hairs that peek through my auburn mess. But my doc has a point about me needing to take care of myself. I do. We both want me to take better care of myself. She thinks it involves taking some pills, seeing one of her referrals, making more appointments, and maybe she's right. But for myself I prescribe missing more appointments, having more happy scheduling accidents, and spending time in the backyard with my family while my kids are still young.

Happy Summer.


pixiemama said...

I love picturing you and your family enjoying your happy scheduling accident. Yes, more of those!


kim mccafferty said...

We're all so overscheduled, particularly those of us with disable children, it's such a thrill to have "down time". Hope you have a lot of it this summer!

Anonymous said...

There's a lot to be said for the wisdom we gain with age!

Jeni said...

Should I say "Welcome to middle age" or not? That is the question for which I, at the grand olde age now of 65, soon to be 66, and am I now "OLD?"
Well, yes and no! Sure I have a goodly number of years under my belt that you have yet to see and yes, when I try to do things I used to do without a thought and the back aches, the knees don't always cooperate and move in the correct manner, the ankles swell, pain and I know too I have other issues within my body at this many years too but most every morning when I wake up, my mind feels very much like it did when I was only in my 20s -until I try to move and my body then says "Oh no you don't! That isn't part of your environment at this stage." No, I'm not exactly happy when that happens but hey, it's like a car that has well over 300,000 miles on it, a bit rusty here and there, maybe even bedraggled looking at times too, but as long as the damned engine still starts and it can chug along -perhaps a bit slower than new models -I'm happy! Don't worry about how old you are but do worry a bit about what you're going to do to keep the engine of that car running as smoothly as is medically possible! What you're going to do to keep the mind fully functioning too as long as the Good Lord allows you to exist! Age is relative and doesn't mean anything more than you've survived x-number of years on the planet! Go and enjoy! (That's what I try to do anyway and I ignore as much of the bad junk as I possibly can whenever I can -all the while looking for another service station where I can acquire a bit more gas and oil, new tires maybe if possible or necessary too.)

PBear said...

Old is always at LEAST 20 years older than you are. Since I'm 50 pushing 51, I'd say you have plenty of time... :-)

I have learned the hard way that you do have to take care of yourself too, or God has a way of making you stop and do it anyway... Not a lesson I manage to apply consistently, but I keep trying. It does get easier as the kids get older, I promise (even though that means that you will be older as well...)

Glad you got a much-deserved break tonight!