I know that if it is granted unto me to live into my seventh decade of life, I will look back on these days, and I will think that every messy and exhausting and overwhelming moment was Totally Worth It. There will even be some things about these days that I will miss (a nostalgia that will, God willing, be more than adequately sated by means of the time I spend helping out with my grandchildren). I know this, because all the septuagenarians I’ve ever met can’t be wrong.
(The tricky part, of course, is that I can’t see quite how I’m going to get from here to there…)
Also, if I make it to 70, I will in all likelihood smile with nostalgic empathy at the moms wrestling their toddlers in the pew, and I will talk crazy-talk to young mothers; i.e., “Enjoy them while you can! They don’t stay little long! It really does go fast!” I know that I will say these things, because all the septuagenarians I’ve met, even the most sensible ones, talk like that.
I just pray that I will be granted the grace to become my favorite kind of septuagenarian: the kind whose nostalgia is realistic enough to recall, even amid fond reminiscing, “I was just so tired all the time;” and “It was hard and I sometimes wondered how I’d make it through.” The kind who inquires with true empathy about Baby’s sleeping habits, who volunteers to be a warm body between the more volatile elements in your pew, who drops off chicken soup when everybody’s dragging around with a cold. What a precious, precious resource: a woman who has been there and done that, who has not forgotten that the investment required to make eternal treasures is heavy, and who is willing to continue investing herself after her intial tour of duty is done.