63 and looking back

63 and looking back

Both girls were in bed (Check!), and it was time to call the birthday girl. I put her on speaker and went back to the laundry which seemed to be multiplying before my very eyes. “So how old are you”, I asked, draping Shawn’s been-dried-twice-to-get-the-wrinkles-out dress pants over a hanger. Should kids ask that, I wondered, as I went ahead and asked it anyway.
“63!” she announced as if she had reached a level in a video game or something that required a lot of time and dedication. Reaching 63 certainly does take time and dedication. At least when the years matter and you’re someone who cares about your life, and the way it’s lived.
“63! Wow!” I say, and before there was any old age banter or jokes, she moved right along, talking about how she can’t believe she’s 63. Truly. She remembers when her mom couldn’t believe when she was such-and-such age, with kids in their 30s. And now it’s her.
Then she said without even being asked, how she’d love to go back in time, even if just for one day, to see what her days were like when she had babies at home. I was standing there, folding a little white onesie, and seeing both sides: yes, it goes by so fast. Noella’s only two, and it feels like two decades ago she was swaddled in my arms as a fresh new little thing. And I also can’t even see past 2pm on some days. My mom was saying how she’d love to go back for a day and see what she was like as a mom in those days, or better yet, to bring with her the wisdom she’s gained since then, and mom us kids again, from a new and seasoned perspective. It almost made me cry to think of ‘future me’ wanting to be with ‘present me’, the one rocking the baby and dishing out Cheerio’s. Future, ‘clean house, time for 45 min at the coffee shop, a stop at the grocery store for only three ingredients, peace in the restaurant, no wipes and bows and toothpaste smeared on the bathroom counter’ me, longing for what I have now. I think that’s what people really mean when they say to “enjoy every minute”. No Janet, I’m not going to enjoy every minute of this meltdown leaving the church nursery because she wants ice cream in her car seat on the way home.
It was just inspiring to hear a nostalgic mom of five, now in her 60s, remember so vividly how hard and long the days were. But to also want just one day back. Just one more day to see what her now-grown kids were like as newborns, as toddlers, as 8 yr olds. The memories are there, but what did they look like, how were the days spent, what did they feel like when asleep on your shoulder? She wanted just one day to go back and of course hold her babies again, but to also give herself the pep talk and the grace to take it all in not because it’s easy, but because it’s work that MATTERS. To take it in because it’s your life, and one day it will be over.
Happy birthday, mom. And even though it’s your birthday, I appreciate the gift you gave me tonight, to tell present day me to soak it all in, not because it’s easy, but because one day the memory of what is now won’t be as clear and as vivid. One day, Lord willing, 63 year old me will remember, and smile.
Cheers to you… the mom you were, the mom you are.
I hope you like your balloons.

One thought on “63 and looking back

  1. J, This is a truly special gift…this writing. It will be a continuous reminder as I read it again, to stop and live in the present moment. When I was in the midst of exactly where you are now, I could not begin to see the future. But I’m living it now and it’s more/different than I could imagine. When we walk faithfully with God, we can trust that He has our present and our future. ❤️

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