I feel very preoccupied with aging these days, which feels about as interesting as being preoccupied with the weather but I am finding myself more interested in the weather too, along with what types of birds are currently on the feeder (those tiny ones with the grey backs and pointy beaks!) and the time of day the mail arrives, so I guess it’s all one big magical potpourri of being a NOT-YOUNG person.

I’m pretty sure there’s nothing more boring than hearing someone talk about how they’re experiencing the exact same passage of time as every single other thing on the planet, but what can I say: I’ve never been almost-46 before and I find it all very fascinating-slash-depressing.

My role as a mother keeps changing and while I’m still pretty deep in it with Dylan and there’s plenty of ferrying around and laundry and worrying and meal-serving going on I can see with clarity how this whole thing was time-limited from the getgo and everything we’ve done and still do has the end goal of sending these boys out on their own and that’s going to happen so soon, really. Then I will still be their mom, I will always be their mom, but there will be this giant pie-slice from my life that I will need to fill, and the house will be so very quiet.

I think a lot about what is meaningful to me these days and try to realign myself to focus on those things rather than being forever caught up in what I think I should be thinking about, and that seems like one of the gifts of aging: you have all these years of perspective, and the less you have left the more you value what you still have. The nuthatches on the suet, so bright-eyed and round-bellied, coming and going in a great collective flurry: they are a little daily poem, one gift among so many.


12 Responses to “With feathers”

  1. Kathleen on January 8th, 2020 9:51 am

    Also, get some good answers ready for the inevitable question: “Now that the kids are gone what ever will you do?”
    As if your whole identity is dependent on being a capital letters, MOM. They won’t ask your husband this question by the way (eyeroll)

    My answers:
    My old boss at the NSA is getting our old team back together…I’m considering it.
    (smug smile) Any damn thing I want…
    I’m so glad you asked…There’s a great investment opportunity I’d love to talk to you about…
    Sex, lots of sex…(smug smile)

  2. Kristi on January 8th, 2020 10:23 am

    Our kids are of similar ages and your paragraph about how this was “time-limited from the getgo” is a gut punch. I too can now see the end and although the day-to-day can still be time consuming, I already miss the days when the most fun we had was walking to a playground together. I’m also in my 40s and I think (hope) these are the hard years as we transition into the second half of our lives. p.s. I love the poetry of your writing.

  3. Suzanne on January 8th, 2020 10:36 am

    Well, I burst right into tears at the end of the second paragraph. And my child is only SIX.

    I hope that aging brings me an increased ability to sit in the present, and BE. Rather than worrying about the future and how quickly it’s bearing down on us and mourning the past.

  4. JennB33 on January 8th, 2020 11:05 am

    Hope is a thing with feathers.
    My eldest child turns 15 Friday. I take her to her permit driving test next Friday.
    I hope I can make it through the next 6-1/2 years.
    I am enjoying their new found independence. I love them, I loved their childhood, I love that they are growing up so that I can begin my new life with my new partner and remember who I am. I will always be their mother. First and foremost.
    And those little birds with the black caps, those are chickadees.

  5. k on January 8th, 2020 2:37 pm

    I loved this so much. The last paragraph especially. So poetic. And also because my little guy is infatuated with nuthatches (of all things! And of all the birds you might’ve mentioned! So fun.) in all their varieties, so this speaks particularly to me in several different ways.

  6. anne nahm on January 8th, 2020 5:55 pm

    Am jealous of your absolute poetry of thought. All middle age is giving me is the hots for The Witcher.

  7. Lisa on January 9th, 2020 12:54 pm

    Oh, I am right there with you. All of it…even the sudden-onset backyard bird obsession (what is that all about ?!?)

  8. Mary Clare on January 10th, 2020 8:43 am

    This is relatable. Now that I’m in my early 40s (almost 44 is still early 40s, I say) my mortality is as starkly apparent as my crow’s feet. I’m constantly looking at faces of the young and imagining how they’ll age or conversely looking at older folks and seeing their younger face. A visit to my parent’s house at the holidays left me wondering how I’ll be at their ages. I look forward to not giving a crap about what people think and spouting what’s on my mind to everyone in ear shot!

  9. Sara on January 11th, 2020 7:21 am

    If only we knew this feeling was coming when we were in the trenches of newborn-dome. Our kids are about the same age and you’ve captured my sentiments exactly.

    Yesterday I was talking with my oldest son about how I sometimes remind him of Grammy (my Mom), with my occasional aloofness (wait, which movie seats are ours?) and general uncoolness (MOM, can you PLEASE JUST STOP EXISTING FOR A MINUTE YOU’RE EMBARRASSING ME).

    It’s an interesting feeling, being so beamingly proud of your children and marveling at them turning into actual men but also wanting to stop time and perhaps even rewind so we can be better than we were in the earlier days, knowing what we know now.

  10. Katie on January 14th, 2020 9:03 am

    I feel this so much. I’m 45 this year, which has me aware of time in a way I haven’t been so much before (it means I have a sibling who is almost 50 and when did that happen?). I am also moving in to the stage where my parents are older and although they can still do so much, that can change in a moment and I WORRY about what life will be like without them.

    We have 2 15 year olds at home (one his, one mine) and I see them leaving in a few years and can’t fathom what it will be like to not see their faces talk to them every day. And holy cow, have I prepared them for such independence?

    It helps me to know someone else out there sees these things coming, too. Friends look at me weird when I comment on it and I think, are we not supposed to talk about this for real? Are you in denial?

  11. Nikki on January 15th, 2020 9:35 am

    I turn 45 in March. All of my sons are grown now (25, 23 and 22 as I type this), my youngest has married and joined the military. Only one still lives at home and I barely see him because he has…yanno, A LIFE. Time truly DOES fly by and while I thought I’d prepped myself to be in this stage of Life, I really just feel like I’m drifting along. I’m still their mom, they still love me but boys…leave. That’s what they do, especially when they have a gf or wife. They cleave to their wives, to phrase it Biblically, I guess. I have this huge…boy-shaped space now and since I’m single, I don’t even have a partner to grow into that space with so I suppose this is where *I* grow into that space. I’m having growing pains…at 45. I’m a little lost and a lot searching for purpose, but maybe this is part of being a work in progress. In all this, I just wanted you to know you’re not alone. I’m going to just keep faith we both find our way.

  12. Marilyn on January 20th, 2020 6:48 pm

    I love this. Perspective is so valuable and so hard to quantify. “…the less you have left the more you value what you still have.” I will remember this.

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