It is hard to believe, but here it is … another Mama’s Turn column from me. While you might just call this August’s issue, I call it the month I turn 49. To be honest, this birthday is kind of a non-event as I’ve been telling people I was “almost 50” since I was 40. Adding years always elicits a “wow, you look good for your age” response, and I am not against shortening my life span for a compliment. But while I have been saying I am 49 for a while, suddenly there are these daily reminders that I really am:
- When I am asked to input my date of birth on a website, I need to scroll WAAAAY down now.
- I have changed the type size on my computer screen to 16 point, and that is with my reading glasses on.
- No one IDs me … ever.
- My knees make these horrible sounds every time I bend down and then attempt to get back up.
- When I go swimming, I can no longer just look at my fingers to see if they are all prune-like and wrinkly as a sign it’s time to get out … BECAUSE THEY ARE ALWAYS PRUNE-LIKE AND WRINKLY.
- I have been known to call my husband on my cell phone to complain about how I can’t find my cell phone!
- “Mom, finish your sentence,” my 17-year-old pleads. “Please, just finish your sentence.” (Apparently my mind wanders mid-thought? Wait, what was I saying?)
- Going out to dinner at 5 p.m. still feels too early, but a 9 p.m. movie seems really, really late.
- Drinking wine on my patio with friends is more appealing than happy hour at a crowded bar.
- I have suddenly become invisible to any man under 60.
There are some positive flip sides to all these “getting older” things. For instance, I finally am starting to not sweat the small stuff so much. I have learned to “lighten up,” to be more free-spirited, to try and focus on the positive and, most of all, to always find laughter. For example, after years of worrying if my children would turn out okay, and if not, if we would have enough bail money, I have learned to let go. I did what I could, and now it is time to accept them for who they are, their choices, their actions which they are responsible for. Turns out, they are amazing people! Of course, I am still resisting the urge to remind them constantly of all the blood, sweat, tears and outrageous amounts of chocolate and wine I consumed to get them there. But then I think about how fun it will be when they learn this for themselves when they have their own kids one day. Say, that’s another advantage of getting older. You can be snarky and people just blow it off as sassy and cute. I think I am going to like this whole middle-aged thing!
Sharon Fuentes is an award-winning freelance writer, special needs parenting advisor and the author of the book, The Don’t Freak Out Guide to Parenting Kids with Asperger’s. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.