When I was 21, it was a very good year, (reminds me of the Frank Sinatra song)…but it’s not!
I was engaged to be married, I thought my life was laid out in front of me, with children in my future. That would happen but not for twenty years, little did I know that then.
I was divorced by 26 with my biggest regret being I didn’t have the child that I dreamed of having.
Fast forward to 39, (but it wasn’t so fast), a new marriage and my daughter on the way. I remember thinking while I was pregnant, about how my age would compare to her age as the years went by and would she be embarrassed because she had an older mother. I also remember thinking of the ‘milestone’ birthdays, although as we get older, I think each birthday is a milestone (because nothing should or can be taken for granted) and that brought me to where we are now.
My daughter turning 21 in April and I will turn 60 in May. I didn’t dare think about that when she was born, there are always so many ‘what ifs’ to contend with through the years. Having gone through a thyroid cancer scare when she was about 6 and my son was 4, I would only think of their milestones after that and found myself making deals with whatever god or higher being there might be, not even daring to think that far down the line. I wanted to enjoy moments with my children. Their ‘important’ birthdays, turning 10, double digits, 16, driving, 18, graduating High School, 21, legal.
Well, she just turned 21 and now I will turn 60. I can honestly say I’ve not taken one moment for granted. So what do I think about our age difference now? I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I think it’s fair to say my children saved me from myself and ironically I never knew I needed saving. What I learned was that there was something much more important than me, I needed to be the best version of myself to be the best mother they could have.
Looking back, what did I do right?
My healthy lifestyle started when I was 21; that has been a constant in my life. Granted my interpretation of ‘healthy’ at 21 is somewhat different than at 60, but, for the most part, I shied away from anything that seemed wrong to put in my body. I was never focused on weight, only what looked and felt best on me. So I made a deal with myself: I would put myself in check on each birthday. Did I still feel good? Did I like the way I looked? Had I gained or lost too much weight? If I wasn’t happy with any of those answers, I put myself back on track within the month of May and I am proud to say I’ve been consistent and this has served me well.
I left a bad marriage but it wasn’t easy because he didn’t want it to end and I was in love with him, but verbal abuse is real, and husbands don’t have the right to cheat.
I lived for thirteen years on my own before my second marriage, I learned about me, supported myself, made my mistakes, (yes there were other bad relationships) and grew as a better person, all before having my children.
I learned to appreciate the women in my life, my friends, my sister, and now most importantly my daughter.
I took a chance and married an Englishman, the best decision I ever made, although I’m sure life with me has not been easy for him (some of the time).
I was very thankful for my daughter and at the time she was born, I was told given my age, there would not be any other pregnancies. Well, my son decided it wasn’t going to work that way and he entered my world when I was 41. Just for the record, he is still that stubborn.
So what is it like when your daughter gets her first period and you are entering menopause? It’s hot, very hot both literally and figuratively! And there is much to laugh about because your perspectives are so opposite.
From my point of view I was able to see my whole journey through her eyes and I was so thankful to be able to share it with her. Our relationship was/is strong, something I am very proud of to this day.
So, when I was 21, it was a very good year, but now that my daughter is 21, it’s a much better year! She is stronger and smarter at this young age and she has me in her corner. Both of my children do. I envied the women who had kids in their early 20s and 30s, but I can honestly say, I wouldn’t have been a good mother then; I didn’t know who I was yet but I know now.
I found the book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christina Northrup, MD in my mid 30s. It helped me put into words both my questions and my answers, from both a physical and mental point of view. The timing of her next book, Mother-Daughter Wisdom in 2005 was perfect. The analogies, descriptions, comparisons helped me see things as I might not have and I am thankful to have found these books when I did. I read it in stages and when I pulled it out for the purpose of this blog, I found many of my kids’ early cards and letters they wrote to me in school. I used to use them as bookmarks as I was going through the chapters to mark the ones I wanted to go back to.
So the best way to describe this time in my life – grateful, thankful and blessed.
My biggest fear now is not being here for my kids if and when they need me.
So, it’s taken a few years but I’ve compiled a few lists of of information that may prove helpful to them one day. I enlisted the help of other women to fill in the blanks and share their opinions and what we have can be considered a reference guide covering a number of subjects. And, if only one kid gets one piece of advice from this when needed, then it was well worth the effort to complete it, but there is always room for more, so please add to it as you will. Did I Remember To Tell You?