19 September 2012

My cloudy crystal ball

(Nothing profound. Just pep-talking myself a bit.)

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.  

(And I still totally respect the octogenarian who once told me, “I wouldn’t trade those years for a million dollars. And I wouldn’t give a dime to go back.”)


The Mama said...

One of my favorite people in our last congregation was a sweet nonagenarian who told the funniest stories about her large brood of children- almost all of whom were still in the area, still in the congregation, and responsible people of a certain age, themselves. It was fascinating to hear her talk about the foibles and mishaps and see what fine people they had grown into- with fine children, grandchildren, and even great grands.
I'd love to grow up to be that woman.

Cathy said...

Reb.Mary and The Mama-- Amen.

Emommy said...

Yes, what jewels those women (and you women!) are. I am encouraged so often by a dear lady in our congregation who bore nine children in ten years. One of my favorite stories: she gave birth to twins, but didn't know she'd been carrying two--the first was born and the doc told her another one was coming. "If I hadn't been lying down," she says, "I would have fallen over." She is awesome, and truly empathetic, and supportive with her words and her time. AND she has a sense of humor! Which, come to think of it, is kind of mandatory. A million bucks and a dime--so appropriate!

Louise said...

When I read this post I kept thinking about my own mother, although she is not nearly 70, and doesn't look past 50. She has done her duty by her own children, all eleven of us, and now is the one with the chicken soup, the kleenex for a runny nose or a crying young mother, the 'I remember; it's hard work!'
I am so thankful I have something she never did- I have her. Thank you, Mom. :-)