This past week was all about laying low, enjoying perhaps the last bit of warm fall weather, while recovering from the Art Crawl. I had my mom here for a visit. It was a good visit, but hard in some ways. My mom turned 80 this summer. In many ways, I think she is doing very well. (I start wondering how my body will be holding up in 30 years!) But there is no denying that she is aging and her body is slowing down. I can't help but worry or fear the time when her health will fail even more and ... it's hard to think about.
I wanted to get my mom out to enjoy the nice weather and so we decided to take a trip to the Conservatory. I thought the place would be empty on a weekday, but I was wrong. The place was crawling with toddlers and preschoolers, mothers, and grandparents. Another realization: while I am not yet a grandparent, I noticed that a good number of those grandparents were not much older than me. Yikes! (My kids are not ready to be parents and I'm in no hurry, but perhaps something that will happen in my 50's? ... all in due time!)
I imagine I'm also thinking about these things more, because in a few short months I will be turning 50. I realize I am becoming a member of an older generation. Whatever that means.
It's all a matter of perspective. I am not yet ready to think of myself as part of an "older" generation. I guess I'm defining what that means for me.
I am still embracing the freedom of having grown children, who still look to me for support, but not on a daily basis. I am trying to pursue some of my own dreams...which means sometimes putting myself first. Boy, is that hard to write. It doesn't mean ignoring family and friends or other things that I care about...it just means not always sacrificing my own goals to make sure others are happy. These days, I am making some very conscious decisions about what I want to do with the second half of my life. BIG stuff.
My mother spent her life raising six children. She has 15 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren (so far)! She was the mother that was always home when I came home from school and often had something good coming out of the oven about the time I walked in the door. (I got my love of baking from her). Her life pretty much revolved around her family.
I'm not sure she would complain about that. I hope she knows how much we appreciate all the sacrifices she made. I feel a need to make sure she knows that. We were not a family that said to one another "I love you", but it was understood. It still seems stupid to me that it's so hard to say that to my mom or my siblings. Some things are hard to change. I'm working on it.
As I was raising my kids, I told them everyday that I loved them. Now those very important words flow from our lips to each other with ease. It should be that way.
Consider this a warning that these days I'm juggling some big issues...I'm thinking a lot about the second half of my life. I'm determined to do things I love.
Family will always be very important. Friends too. Relationships are a core part of my life. But I'm also thinking about how I will fill my life with meaning and activities that will keep me young...in spirit, at least.
And for me, that means doing what I love. What I love most, is making art...painting...filling my life with color. I'm exploring how I'm going to do that.
Life is, after all, a work in progress.