yesterday my sweet almost-6-year old emma-girlie was playing with her best friend and 'twin', cherrylyn.
i happened to overhear bits of their conversation.
emma: 'pretend your mom is 65, and mine is 63, and they are best friends like we are, and we all live together, and....."
cherrylyn: 'ok, and they go places together, and they have a lot of kids, and they have a bakery..."
and on and on they chattered, building an imaginary world that was created out of their own reality. well, emma's reality.
that sobering reality is that she has a mother who is in her 60's.
it's no big deal to her. i keep up. i dye my hair. she doesn't know, my girlie doesn't, that her mommy is a full generation older than her friend's mommies...she doesn't realize that being 60 plus is not really "normal" for a child her age.
but i know.
and i see dimly into the hazy future and i wonder...i wonder...
when she's a teenager, will i still be able to keep up?
what supplements can i take that will keep me young?
what else can i do that will delay the inevitable decline of this dear old body to the point that my little daughter notices that her mother is old?
she asked me the other day..."mommy, are you an old lady?"
i gasped in mock horror.
"oh my goodness, no, emma! mommy is not an old lady!"
but in many ways i am.
i'm old enough to have regrets, and to do things differently with emma than i did with the first little birds in my nest- i am old enough to know better now.
i'm wiser. i'm softer. i'm tireder.
yes, i know that's not a word.
i try to peer through the shadows into the future. at what point will emma be a motherless child?
at what point will we say that final goodbye?
how much can i teach her to make her ready to face life alone- far too young?
but then i think...every precious moment is a gift. nobody has a guarantee of 18 years with their child. nobody can ever pour enough of herself into a little one to prepare that child to launch from the nest into a confusing and difficult world, even when mom is only a phone call away.
i have a relative who refused to learn to cook while she lived at home with her mother. everything was done for her by a doting parent. when that child got married and left home, she'd call every night to ask mom how to make supper.
emma will not have that option, i don't think.
but even if i can't squeeze it all in, don't have time to teach her to cook, there are other things...
i hope she knows how much i love her.
i hope she remembers the fun we have baking, making play doh, reading together, creating a tropical jungle around our house together, going on trips, singing, playing piano, and all the other lovely things that fill our days.
it's no joke to be a senior parent of a small child. it's no sacrifice either.
it's all joy.
i cannot see into the shadows in front of us, so i simply adore the present.
and i choose to not fear the future.