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Monday, April 15, 2013

Seeking Joy

Okay - for the umpteenth time I pull up Facebook and see articles on how tired the younger women are of all of us negative older women. At first I am a little offended. Who do they think they are fussing at us? We KNOW what it's like. We KNOW it's hard. Of course we have a tendency to let them know in the midst of their difficulties that they are not the only ones who struggle with their present situation. We want them to count their blessings right? Older women rob them of joy?  They seem to be doing just fine on their own. All of the complaining and fussing about how hard it is. I see all of those artsy craftsy things they do - that I used to have time for. I see the arranged playdates and playing in the waterhose outside.  We have Facebook you know - I see it all and it is amazing! And quite frankly I am jealous. I want to be where they are. But I am so guilty of shooting my younger friends down. Whether I am being passive agressive - or even if I want them to realize how blessed they are to be in that stage, it is wrong of me not to point them to my present joy.

They need hope - the same as me.

I miss my babies. I would give so much to go back and hold them and kiss those soft little lips that I NEVER get to feel anymore. And they used to think I was amazing. Now they think I am stupid and a killjoy. I am the one who nips their fun in the bud. And that sweet, dimpled, skin is now getting hairy - and - okay - a little pimply. Of course I long for the days when my kids were little. So - where is the joy in my present age?

Ah....therein lies the trouble. I am not seeking it.

 I was younger when I had my babies. So I could do more. I didn't tire as easily. Focus was not an issue either. Now I am ADD. I have a million projects that have been started and not completed because I cannot think past walking upstairs to get the vacuum cleaner. I see other things that need to get done and try to do those while I am there, forgetting that I needed the vacuum to finish what I started downstairs. It's exhausting. And the social life.   Of the kids.   It is in full swing. There is always somewhere they need to be. And I have been admonished to say yes to as much as I can because there is so much I have to say no to. When they were babies I protected their time - because they needed rest. My babies napped more than the average kids. So I had a lot more time. Now they are tireless...I suppose all of those naps really worked to their advantage.

I have twins that are 5 years away from graduating high school. College costs $5000 a semester. So I work, to help pay for college. I come home and haul whoever to wherever and fix dinner, do whatever thing I can think of to get ready for the next day and fall into bed. Playdates are a thing of the past. I don't get together with my girls near enough. My social life - is their ball games. Thank goodness I love the people we play with, or I would be miserable. There is some awesome time spent with some wonderful people.

The hard fact is - it is no wonder that I am not seeing the joy. I am consumed with so much. It is understandable that I look to younger days.....days that have the rich patina of time and grace to make them lovely, warm and fuzzy.

But - the thing is -the younger women are right. We do burden them with our negativity. But it is only because we would give anything to be back where they are. Of course if we were - we would think it is SO hard! Because it is.  Our tunnel vision causes us to see only our own struggles and we have a  hard time counting our blessings when life gets so fast. So - the answer.....

TAKE SOME TIME.

It is difficult - but not impossible. It is actually part of God's requirement for us to be thankful. In prayer time I thank God for the usual: my husband, the kids, our family, my friends, the house, the cars, our jobs...and I tend to generalize way too much. I think I need to start looking deeper.Seeing the details.  My twin boys sat on either side of me yesterday in church. I had one curly headed 13 year old resting his head on my shoulder and the other blonde head close to mine with his arm looped through mine holding my hand (do NOT tell their friends). Thank you LORD for that time with them. They do love me! My 10 year old boy will randomly tell me he loves me. Just out of the blue. My heart jumps every time. Thank you LORD for those sweet words. It means ever so much more now because of all of the outside influences they have. The need to be independent and - well - "cool", is prevalent in our day to day lives now. I do not have near the contact I used to - but - I do have it. They do like me to sit by them on the couch....of course it may be because I clean their ears and scratch their backs - but no matter....I will keep doing so if it means they want me there. They do want me to watch them do things still. That is a good thing as well. And if I complain about being fat - they tell me I am not. Even though I know I really am quite fluffy these days. They don't see me that way. Bless them. This proof of their love means the world. It seems bigger and more tangible. Maybe because it just doesn't happen as often these days.

Of course there are so many ways it is easier now. The obvious things are they no longer require me to brush their teeth, hair, pick out their clothes, tie their shoes - though there are moments where I wish they would let me - especially the hair and the clothes thing. AND I don't have to wipe their bottoms anymore...that in and of itself is one to jump up and down over....there is the unclogging of the toilets these days - but - I won't dwell on that. Really.  But - that is part and parcel of it all, isn't it? They are growing up. And it is GOOD. I work with special ed kids who will be like babies the rest of their lives.  As precious as these sweet souls are - I can guarantee that each one of their parents wish they were growing as they should. The fact the boys are growing and changing is a blessing. Of course I want that.

It is not so bad being a mom of older children. In fact, it is a joy. One I need to share.

My prayer is that I will start conveying this to my younger friends. I am an older mom. No one wants to stay in the same stage forever. Change is part of God's plan. And I love it in spite of it's busy-ness. I would have it no other way.