Feeling My Age

Last night I stayed up late working on a puzzle, because I am now old and that’s my idea of a rocking good time. It’s a puzzle of china teacups, in case you were wondering – for maximum old lady style.

I’d only been asleep an hour when Gal Smiley got up with a stomachache. Getting up after just one hour of sleep is the WORST. Even when I had a newborn and was totally messed up and almost used to getting up 6 times a night, the one-hour-past-bedtime wake up was the hardest.

So I dragged my butt out of bed and sat up with her for a while, and then went back to bed and sleep for just over another hour before Little Miss Sunshine got up with a stuffy nose. I barely managed to force myself to get up and zombie-walked her through various treatments and then went back to bed for three more hours of sleep before my alarm clock went off and I smashed it into a million bits. (I may have dreamed that last part.)

My point here is that I am way, way too old to be getting up twice in a night. I feel bad, because my kids are still young, and certainly when my oldest was 8, I was still able to pop out of bed and provide comfort in the middle of the night instead of acting like my poor youngest has interrupted the beauty sleep of Helen of Troy, GO BACK TO BED CHILD.

The wife of a friend of mine used to read my blog a few years ago, when I was still mired in sleepless nights and cute baby talk and figuring out how to work naps around kindergarten pickup. Her kids were grown and she was dealing with teen crises and university applications, and she eventually stopped reading my silly stories here. She apologized, explaining that she was just in a different place now, and couldn’t go through it again. Trust me, Bonnie, I am there now. I’m OVER IT. I’m ready to move on to the part when I lie in bed sleepless with worry while the kids are out with the car.

I’ll turn 46 later this year and that has me thinking about two things recently. First, my father passed away at age 47, from cancer. He was young, for sure, but now that I am approaching that age I see that it is no longer so young to be a fluke. I’ve lost a handful of friends to cancer now and although it’s still rare and tragic at my age, it’s no longer unheard of. When my father died I went through years of stress, thinking 47 was my end date as well – I almost didn’t have kids for fear of leaving them motherless at a young age. I’m more hopeful these days, but it’s still out there, like a big finish line. I’ll be crossing it soon, one way or the other.

On the flip side, my grandmother was 47 when her first grandchild was born. Lately I have been watching a lot of cartoon shows with my kids and it’s fascinating to me how “grandparents” are always portrayed as grey-haired, wrinkled, and frail. My own grandmother was anything but – she was active and vibrant and participated heavily in the upbringing of me and my three sisters. By the time I’m a grandmother – if I ever am a grandmother – I’ll be old and grey like the ones on TV. At 47, instead of bouncing babies on my knee and then handing them back for a diaper change, I’ll still be in the thick of things with a 14, 13, and 10 year old. I’m starting to think my grandmother had things figured out.

And now, I believe it’s time for my midmorning nap.

4 thoughts on “Feeling My Age

  1. Ah, Lynn, I love it when you take the long view and give us your thoughts! This will all look better after a good night’s sleep! (and BTW, trust me, no parent is ready for the kid taking the car!)

  2. Yup to all of it. I too am in the same place as you (we are very close in age) and definitely feel my age. Sleep is one of my favorite activities. lol

    My blogs has changed over the years too. Sleep though seems to be a enduring topic, no? Almost everything we do somehow relates to things like “when is it over, I’m tired” to “will they get enough sleep to get up tomorrow if this activity takes much longer” to “how am I going to do x and y and z tomorrow if I can’t get enough sleep tonight”…

    I have many thoughts about my own aging process but ugh…sometimes I just don’t want to think about it, much less write about it, since it’s just so much of the every day life. You know what I mean? (note to self, time for a colour…)

    But this is why I tune into the turtlehead blog. I read you and enjoy that we seem to have so much in common.

  3. You have my sympathy, it must have been hard to lose your father at such a young age. I can see why, consciously or not, 47 has a special meaning for you.

    I still think you’re young, though! Maybe when your kids were younger you were expecting these interrupted nights, so your body was ready for it. Now, not so much 😆 Hey, we all deserve a good night’s sleep!

  4. It’s kind of weird when you’ve lost a parent at a young age and then you surpass that age. Wow, what a twisty kind of a sentence. I am now six years older than my Dad was when he passed, totally different circumstance of course, but still weird. Also my brother and wife are busy raising their three year old and he is adorable times a million, but glad that it’s not me with the pre-schooler.

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