You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea.
Each step of my children’s lives – from the morning I pushed them out of my womb to the afternoon I dropped them at the doors of the high school or college - have served to hit me square in the face that I'm getting older. I’ve not paid attention. Until now.
A few Friday nights ago at the lake, my oldest son Jacob, and his girlfriend, Chelsea, found me huddled in bed with a book. My husband came in and we all talked about this and that. Out of the blue, Jacob said, “I asked Chelsea to marry me tonight.”
That they wanted to share this significant moment on THE NIGHT made both my husband and I cry. That they have adored each other since junior year of high school, throughout college and beyond only made the next step logical and timely. Not to mention romantic. We toasted with the little red wine we had left in the house and sat on the bed talking for another hour or more.
Despite knowing the happiness and the significance of the moment, I couldn’t help the ache rising in my heart. An ache I didn’t quite understand.
The next day, I plopped my middle-aged ass in the hammock and hammered out my thoughts into my journal.
I was more than angry with myself. I banged at the frustration that I always slow down and take a side step, with a pang of puzzlement, to figure out what everything means. Then my mind clicked. My ache didn't exist because my son was getting married, rather because he couldn’t get married and begin a life with someone other than his dad and me. He was only born last week.
I lived my youth, got an education, a vocation, a partner, had children, bought a house, made 100’s of meals, and then before I knew it, my children grew taller than me. The growing passed so quickly. So quietly. Life seemed so easily defined and, now, I no longer know where I'm heading.
No longer am I at the front of the stage. The curtain isn't closing in front of me. Maybe just a fine sheath of mist before me from where I will watch the next generation, and exit stage right to do whatever comes next. It's not like I no longer have a part. It's just not a starring role - in that role. Does that make any sense?
Oh, how I hate all this redefinition.
This one's easy, though. Mother of the groom? Wear beige and keep my mouth shut. Right?
We love Chelsea. She knows all our faults and still likes us. With great love, our family offers a wide open stage.