I married and had children young. By today’s standards, extremely young. I was neither an unwed nor teen mother, but only barely. But this isn’t about that story, it’s about the now.
Since I married and had kids so young, I think I kind of skipped over my “matron” stage. I was the eldest of several kids, so I was obligated to be a “mature” example and help care for them. While learning to be mature. It was confusing. I don’t resent nor regret a minute of it, but it did cause me to marry young. I won’t go into all the circumstances that caused me to be pregnant just before I turned twenty, but it wasn’t youthful carelessness. I also narrowly escaped the “teen mom” stigma, even if it was only by a short time. Throughout my teen years and early 20s, I was living a much more mature life than I was physically or emotionally prepared for. I was a motherly maiden. I was wiping chins and bums while hoping somebody was staring at my bum. If you’ll allow me a moment of vanity, it was a stare-worthy bum. Just sayin.
At the tender age of 40, I had already kissed my children goodbye. 7 years later, I’m still dreading becoming a granny. The Spinny Kids both say they don’t want children. I’m ok with that, if it’s what they want. If I was half as educated at 19 as I thought I was, the Spinny Kids wouldn’t exist, either. But that’s not what I’m getting at today either.
While the Spinny Kids were still “growing up”, I was still young. Attractive, even, if the attentions I received from strangers is an indication. I’m not bragging. I really dont’ care either way. Mr. Spinny somehow still finds me attractive, and for now, that’s enough for me.
I don’t feel my age, though. Time and genetics haven’t been kind to me physically, under my skin. I have pains and creaks and groans and snapping noises, and gravity provides me with a daily battle that I don’t enjoy at all. Emotionally, I feel even older. I’ve already seen the Spinny Kids and all their friends grow up. I’ve seen two new generations come into existence, before some of my high school friends have even “settled down”. I’ve seen loves and passions come and go, technologies change several times over, wars come and go and come again, countries rise and fall, and a larger number of friends pass on than I ever dreamed I would have friends.
Somehow, I’ve gone from Clotho – spinning the thread – to Atropos – cutting threads and saying goodbye to friends and family much younger than I. From Vailisa the Beautiful to Baba Yaga. And I’m ok with that, I think. I think Baba got a bad rap. Of all the Baba Yaga stories I’ve heard, the only ones to give her a come-uppance were some amazing young ladies who passed some pretty fantastic tests. I don’t think old Baba had that big of an issue being put in her place by a young woman who was clearly strong and wise. If anything, it gave her the hope to continue on and weed out the simple-minded weaklings.
I’m sure there are those who get to be old by fluke, but those who get old and wise and vain have probably earned it, and are around to take the young’uns down a couple pegs so they can be old and scary and loud, too.
At this point, I’ve actually forgotten where I was going with any of this, aside from that I’m OK with getting old. I’ve earned my grey hairs and wrinkles, and I’ll happily take my hits from young women who are smarter and stronger than I am, because it means that at least some women are getting stronger and smarter.
Whether you are a child with children of your own, old and have outlived your children, just barely manage to take care of that cactus on the window sill, desperately want children you cannot have, or have the good sense to admit that you should not be a mother for whatever your reasons are, happy Mothers day to all the humans out there who have nurtured the world in any way.
Keep setting the bar higher for the next generations!