Saturday, November 1, 2014

Older and Wiser?

I think I've come to the realization that I've been looking at this aging thing all wrong. I mentioned before that I attend a ladies' Bible study once a week where the majority of the moms are the same age or younger than my oldest daughter. The past couple of weeks I've found myself sharing my past personal experiences as much as relating to the current challenges of the younger mothers. After our meeting recently, I was sharing with our study leader my feelings about that and I was actually apologizing for sharing so much of my experience. She assured me that my "wisdom" was more than welcome. I would not call me wise. Wise is when you put your knowledge to good use. I don't always do that. Very often, I do exactly the opposite of what I know I should do. That's a LACK of wisdom.  Maybe it's a different story, however, when it comes to parenting. I like to think that the majority of the time I put what I've learned from past parenting experiences to good use. Like sharing it with younger moms.

It's strange to think that I have now become one of those experienced moms I gleaned advice from when I was younger. Especially when I just don't FEEL older or wiser in my mind. My body, on the other hand, feels older than its age. That's another story. In spite of the fact that I've been on the front lines of motherhood for almost 34-years, I don't feel qualified to give advice. The opportunities to do so keep appearing though, so maybe God thinks otherwise. I feel so humbled by it all. I might even go so far as to say I feel almost embarrassed after words of "wisdom" spew forth without me even thinking much about it. There it is though - I'm older, more experienced than a lot of moms I know, and still in the trenches. My "wisdom" seems to be appreciated and for that I'm grateful. It makes me feel like I'm more useful than I thought and what a blessing that is. I want to be very intentional, however, about not giving advice where it's not wanted. Nobody appreciates THAT.

I've often heard that one of the scariest things about growing older is a feeling of uselessness. Feeling like you've served your purpose and there's no more for you to do. I've not experienced that yet. I
don't usually have time to even imagine it. Feeling irrelevant now, that's something I've struggled with and the cure seems to be having my experience appreciated. Okay. Let's settle the "wisdom" issue right now. Yes, I may have grown some wisdom over the years, but I'm no sage. Far from it. So, let's just refer to what I share with my young mom friends as experience. I share my experiences. I'm much more comfortable with that. Good. I'm glad that's settled. Suffice it to say that when I get to share my experiences as a mother with a young mom who hasn't had that experience yet and could benefit from someone who has, it's very gratifying. I consider it an honor and a blessing.   I'll remember that the next time someone more experienced than I wants to share their experiences with me. That's what I consider a full-circle blessing. They're blessing me with their wisdom (they ARE wiser) and I am blessing them by listening. Everybody benefits. Yay!

Until next time - be a blessing by simply listening.
T.A.M.  :-)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Sea of New Mommies

I attend a ladies' Bible study every Tuesday morning and it's a place where I can either feel very awkward, or very wise.  It reminds me of the days when I couldn't have an uninterrupted adult conversation and slipping back into that is not easy.  The chaos challenges me at moments.  There are little ones running around who are even younger than mine.  In fact, she has been designated a "helper" because she's so much older than the other kids.  I think the oldest after my 7-year old is 2.  The moms are my oldest daughter's age and younger.  A couple of them are expecting and a couple of them just gave birth.  I remember those days.  I couldn't imagine not wanting to be pregnant.  I loved being pregnant.  Now . . . I can't imagine being pregnant and I thank God I am past that season of life.  It's so funny how things change and our attitudes along with them.

Before we adopted our little one, I was fully in high-school mode.  My boys were both in high school and I was right there with them.  The things of little ones had been cast out of my mind.  I had to work to get my mind to go back there once we had a preschooler again.  I had so much more energy and imagination, even in my thirties and forties, than I do now.  It's a conscious effort to think up creative crafts and projects for my now second-grader to engage in.  Especially since I'm homeschooling her.  That takes a lot of energy and creativity, and it just doesn't come as easily as it once did.

What's up with that anyway?  Just because we get older it shouldn't mean we become less creative.  I know a lot of extremely creative senior citizens.  Maybe it's just a different kind of creativity.  Creating an art project, let's say, is probably very different when you're just doing it in general as opposed to coming up with something age-specific.  Maybe?  That's the only thing that makes sense to me in regards to what I've experienced.  I can still be creative when I'm crocheting or scrapbooking or photographing something.  That creativity comes much easier than when I'm planning a second-grade field trip or arts & crafts project.  It's just very strange to me and has been an interesting challenge.  Kind of like jumping into the sea of new mommies every Tuesday morning.

Along with being a bit challenging at times (simply because of the little ones running around factor), however, it's also very much a blessing.  These moms are just as precious as their little ones and being around them helps keep my perspective fresh.  They remind me of who I was when I was a young mother and inspire me to keep on keepin'-on.  The study we're doing right now is also helpful in reminding me of what I need to be doing as a mom.  It's about shepherding a child's heart.  To be perfectly honest, I'd forgotten some of the principles it teaches and am happy to be reminded.  I didn't think I would really need this study in the beginning.  I joined for the fellowship.  I was wrong though, and have been pleasantly surprised by how applicable the study really is.  I may be the oldest mom there, but for good reason.  Apparently, an "old dog" occasionally needs to be re-taught forgotten tricks.

T.A.M.  :-)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Morning Meltdown

This morning started like most mornings; a cup of coffee, a morning devotion.  Somewhere in the middle of my journaling, however, I experienced an overwhelming feeling of frustration - with my life in general - and started crying.  I don't like to cry really, it messes up my makeup and fills my head with snot; very unpleasant.  Sometimes you just can't help it though, you know?  So, there I was, bemoaning my life as a past middle-age stay-at-home mom and feeling more than a little upset with God.  It's all His fault, after all.  He put me here.  Actually, I felt more like He plopped me down in the middle of the desert and left me there and I was getting sick of manna!  I decided to call my best friend.  The one I used to live ten minutes from and now live twelve HOURS from.  I suppose it could be worse.  We could live on opposite ends of the country.  There's always something to be thankful for if you look hard enough.  Too bad I don't always look very hard.  Anyway, I called my bestie and as soon as she said "hello" the waterworks and verbal dumping began.  At one point during my tirade I remember saying, "I'm 54-years old!  Why am I still a 'mommy bus'!"  SIDEBAR:  Neither of my sons drive yet, so I am still chauffeuring all of my children who live at home.  I cried and vented, and my beloved friend gave me truth.  She said I need to embrace my life the way it is and accept where God has me now.  Easier said than done for sure.  I've been attempting to do just that for several years now.  I won't tell you exactly how many years because it would be terribly embarrassing.  Let's just say "too many".

I am terribly blessed and I know that.  My children are all healthy and happy most of the time.  My husband is a dream, and I live in America.  I really want to be a positive, upbeat person who appreciates her blessings, and most days I do okay with that.  We live in a fallen world and all have struggles - I'm no exception.  Today just happened to be one of those days when my struggles overwhelmed me before I had a chance to put on my armor.

Just for information's sake, I'm going to share with you where my head was this morning.  See if you can relate at all.  I have two sisters; one is four years younger than me and the other is nine years younger.  Both are empty-nesters and have been for several years.  They both have fulfilling careers and their income combined with their husbands' makes for a fairly comfortable lifestyle.  More so than our one-income household with three kids and four pets.  These facts are seldom far from my mind.  One sister, who shall remain un-named, used to like to tease me about my full nest compared to her empty one.  Fortunately, she's gotten a little more merciful lately and doesn't do that so much.  I think she realizes that I'm getting tired.  So, I'm tired; I struggle financially; I have career envy; and I'm upset with God.  You now know more about me than any of my neighbors do.

I think "tired" might be the keyword.  I just get tired.  Tired of laundry, cleaning, meal planning and cooking, chauffeuring, griping at the kids to pick up their socks and feed the cats.  There's no creativity when you're tired, no spontaneity - no fun.  I have a second-grader.  I need some creativity and I need to be fun sometimes.  I remember when my boys were little and I had so much more energy.  I was always thinking of fun things to do and cool places to go and see.  Nowadays, printing out craft projects from Enchanted Learning is about the extent of my creativity.  It's sad!  I have to do better than this.  I have to continue to fight the good fight and raise one more well-rounded adult at a time in my life when loud noises grate like never before and my energy level goes out with the tide every day.  My husband's mantra lately is, "I'm old."  I have to rebuke that.  We don't have time to be old.  I just wish my body would comply with that knowledge.  I'm a fifty-something struggling to do the activities of a thirty-something.  Do you know what it feels like to be the oldest mom in the room?  Talk about weird.  I have nothing in common with the moms of my daughter's friends.  My youngest son was in class the other day and his teacher asked the class by a show of hands whose parents were in their fifties.  My son was the only student to raise his hand.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he shared that story with us.  My husband and I simply did not think very far ahead when we decided to have kids in our mid-thirties.  Hind-sight is 20/20, they say.  I say, "What were we thinking?!"  The answer:  We weren't!

Please don't misunderstand.  I adore my children and the years I got to spend at home raising my two youngest boys were some of the most precious of my life.  I wouldn't trade them for anything.  I'm just tired now . . . I'm just tired.  I look up from mopping the floor or cleaning the latest bout of my seven-year old's "creativity" off the kitchen table to see other women my age getting ready to go on a cruise or engage in some other activity that includes no children and complete freedom (from my perspective anyway).  I envy them.  I'll just be brutally honest, I envy them their freedom.  There's some irony here though because some of them envy me.  I have friends who are widows, friends whose children are grown and living in other parts of the country, and they're lonely.  They miss the noise and the chaos of a house full of children.  From where I sit right now, that's hard to imagine, yet there it is.  Listening to those friends reminds me of what I know in my head.  One day they will all be gone and it will just be me and my husband (The Good Lord willing) . . . and we're gonna enjoy every minute of it!!!

Until then, I'm going to do my best to cherish these young people The Lord has blessed me with the privilege of raising.  I'm going to pray for His strength and cast my cares on Him.  And when I have a meltdown, I'm going to call my bestie and listen to truth.  The truth that God is in control and I am right when and where I am supposed to be for His divine purposes.  Amen!

T.A.M.  :-)

Here I Am

Hi!  I always struggle with what to say when introducing myself.  It seems there is just too much to tell for a short "introductory" paragraph and summarizing myself seems to be an elusive talent.  I guess I'll start with what's most pertinent to this blog and let the rest unfold as it will.

I am 54-years old and have been a full-time mom with kids in my house for almost 34 years . . . running.  My oldest will be 34 in January and my youngest is 7.  Granted, my youngest is actually a grandchild we adopted (I'll be sharing more about her later) and that doesn't change my mommy status one bit because for all intents and purposes (as well as legally) I am her mom.  I currently have at home; a college junior, a high school senior, and a second grader who I am home schooling.  Also, a husband, two cats, and two hamsters.  Did I mention I'm 54-years old?  My oldest grandchild is a freshman in high school and my youngest grandchild just started kindergarten.  We are . . . an American family (quote from "You've Got Mail") and I should rightfully be an empty-nester by now. However, I am not.

There are several reasons I have for starting this blog:

  1. To share and relate with any other moms who may be in a season of life similar to mine . . . two or more seasons at once!
  2. To vent my frustrations, which are numerous on some days, and to share the joys and wisdom that come with my age and current life situation.
  3. To satisfy my need to write and express myself.

If anyone out there catches this and is able to relate, please comment and share with me your unique brand of wisdom and life experiences.  Sometimes just knowing that we're not alone can lighten the load.

T.A.M.  :-)