How Did I Get Here?

I'm old. Yes, age is relative. So relatively speaking, I'm as old as I've ever been. (As usual, you get amazing insight on this blog.)

Yep...shocker, I know. If you are in your twenties or younger and reading this, you are nodding your head, yes, you are old. Know how I know? Because when I was that age, I looked at women my age and I thought they were old. When I was 24, I played soccer with a bunch of girls in their early 30's...they seemed ancient to me at the time. Now? Not so much. If you are 40+ and reading this, then you are shaking your head at me, thinking...just you wait...you don't even know what old is. Age is relative though, and relatively speaking, I'm older than I have ever been (yep...you read that correctly...obviously I'm not getting any sharper with age either). :) The difference at this point though, is that I seem to have crossed some imaginary line, some border between the ignorance of youth and the wisdom of age...because now the years feel as though they have sped up...like they are suddenly passing by at a blinding pace as I claw, grip, cling...trying to slow them down.

I guess this notion, of not noticing how I got here, has just hit me in the past couple of years. It seemed as though for the longest time, I wasn't old. I was a cute twenty-something mom with a chubby baby or an adorable toddler always in tow. We had our first couple of children at a fairly young age, so I was a "young" mom in the pre-school class or really, anywhere I went. I'd look at moms who at that point, were in the age and stage where I am now and I'd think, "Wow...they don't have to lug diaper bags and bottles, it appears they have time to shower and exercise, and their kids are in school...oh, that will be wonderful." Once again (as seems to be the case in each stage of life), now that I'm here, God is revealing to me that my daydreams were slightly inaccurate. He is showing me that I need to be content in the moment, because although each season is different, they are all fraught with their own challenges.

Still, it is funny how "old" sneaks up on you. Even at thirty, I felt fairly young. Then, as thirty got closer to forty, it happened...almost overnight. Could it be because my body lets me know more, now than it ever has...is it because after a hard workout there are more aches and pains (in the wrong places) and it takes me longer to recover? Or maybe, it is because I've had three big babies - pregnancies and births that changed my body in ways never mentioned in the books...is that it? Or, could it be the wrinkles that weren't there before, but now seem to appear anew each day? In my younger kids' classes, I now feel like the "old" mom...maybe that's it? Another doozy...my oldest child turned ten this year. Really, ten? I have a fuzzy memory about my childhood (uh oh, another bad sign...), but I can certainly remember being ten. And for the icing on my now brightly lit birthday cake? My Facebook page is peppered with chatter about our looming 20th high school reunion. I could continue, but I think all of these things, as well as a few others, have collided at full speed to leave me feeling breathless as I wonder, "Where did all of the time go?"

So, why the post? Does it really need to be announced? Nope. But it has gotten me thinking a lot lately about both being content in the day and living a life with purpose. I'm in this season currently, the one that used to be full of "other" moms...but for which I am now a card-carrying member...the season of school-aged kids. It certainly isn't any easier and I'm fairly sure, it is actually more difficult. My kids' lives are more complex...and so are their issues. I do still have little ones at home, but I also have big kids with sports, homework, music lessons and all of that craziness. I find myself feeling sad and nostalgic quite a bit...and the closer I get to older kids and "freedom"...the less I want it. I look at pictures of when we were new parents with littles...and my heart aches. Not only did I magically, overnight, grow old...but so did my kids...and it hurts. As much as I love the amazing people they are becoming, I miss the little ones they were. I miss our leisurely mornings at home in our p.j.'s and afternoons spent having picnics in the backyard. I miss our relatively free evenings after the kids went to bed at 7:30 and I miss weekends that remained open for family time. I miss our life without chores and homework and driving...oh, so much driving now.

So, where does this leave me? I'm afraid, in a familiar place...wrestling. Life is exhausting in this season - as I try to juggle kids ranging from ages two to ten...and I collapse in bed each night with nothing else left to give. Still, it is a precious time and I think the key is learning to be content...in each day...and to take it day by day. The solution, is to rest in God to meet me, to give me peace for the now and to rejoice in His blessings for that day. I am learning to do this, and I suppose that is one benefit of age...perspective. I am here in this day and I need to make choices that allow me to live with a greater purpose. Choices that prevent me from getting mired in the "busy-ness" and allow us, as a family, to focus on leaving a legacy and living for things eternal.

It is not easy and as moms, God uses both the heartache and joy that come with the "job" to change us...to mold us. It can be really painful. It is all going so quickly and what I am
sure of is that I don't want to miss it...not one second. I feel blessed to have been home with my kids all of these years...especially now that I see how fast they grow up. I suspect I'm a different mom to #3 and #4 than I was to #1 and #2. I've relaxed some and I cherish each day more than I did years ago...because I know that this sweet four year old will all too quickly turn into an opinionated ten year old and I want to savor each moment along the way. And one day too soon, the opinionated ten year old will be a full grown adult, and if I've done my job well, she won't "need" me...and honestly, that is the most terrifying reality of all.

I think I'm rambling now...that is what old people do, right? I believe I'm thinking out-loud more than anything else, trying to sort through these complex emotions. This motherhood stuff is really tough. Being a woman and growing older isn't a bowl of peaches either. Still, I am overwhelmed by the blessings and I don't want to ruin today by either living in the past or worrying about the future. Contentment. I need to rest...to meditate on that word. After all...it is surely only a matter of time until I will re-read this post and think, "Wow, I was young then and I didn't have a clue...where did the time go?!?"

1 comment:

lymanfamilyfun said...

Tiffany - just catching up a little on your blog and hadn't seen this. One of my main goals as a Mom is to seize every day, enjoy my kids and family, be with them in the moments and be content with where we are, whatever that looks like. As I pray for you guys today, I'm praying that you find the precious moments in the midst of the mess! Love you guys!