I am exactly in the middle of my life.
When you are a child, your parents are in the middle of their lives. I image, same as me, that in their twenties they thought they were in control of this roller coaster ride called life. Anything they dreamed was possible! They were enjoying new freedoms and proud to be able to make a home to call their own.
I image, same as me, that my parent's thirties were a blur or dirty diapers, lots of laundry, agonizing evenings of school projects and programs, and late nights at work. I am sure the years flew by quickly, just as mine had. They were forced to adjust with the ever changing advances of me and my sisters as we grew. No doubt, like me they felt the boredom of the mundane everyday routines, and asked "Is this it?"
I am sure that my parents looked at us girls the same way I look at our kids. I drink them in, mesmerized in their amazingness. Nearly everything that I do is driven by my love towards them and the life I wish for them to have. Do I take that job if it means less time with them, what school do I want them to attend, where should we live, etc.? And, without question I give my children everything, just as my parents did for us girls.
Growing up we had no clue that we were the reason behind the graying hair that started to pepper their heads, and the dark circles under their eyes. We didn't know we were robbing them of intimacy, missed opportunities, sleep, sacrifices and money. I know they would do it all again, just as I would, because seeing your own face and actions mirrored in your children propels you forward.
Now I find myself at the start of a new decade, and this time I am in the middle. Our children (now grandchild) and our parents (and my grandparents) are the bookends of our lives. Perspectives have changed drastically, as I can see where I have been, and foresee what is in the future. Wise enough now to see how precious and fleeting times carries on, and wishing I had some of it back to do over, or to just be in the moments when they occurred to enjoy them a little longer while they happened.
It's not so much the age, it is the placement. It is watching everyone around you age; your parents, your kids, and not feeling any older yourself. I might feel it in my body some days, but never the soul. The soul is oblivious to age. The soul is timeless.
It is the hollow somewhere inside that you start to recognize because you know at some turn in the valley there will be goodbyes or see you laters. From the beginning you teach your children to be independent, and all too quickly they will leave the home you have created for them, the one you started in your twenties when you believed time was on your side. The thought of empty rooms that they now dwell in, is a suffocating concept.
It is when you are struck with the profound realization that while your parents always provided for you, when the time comes how are you going to provide for your parents?
Here I am , in the middle of my life. Happy and grateful for the blessings that I have, but realizing that this ride has an end in which all of us must exit. the hills and peaks of this roller coaster don't so much as coast, but take you on a ride in which you are hanging on to time, gripping white knuckled with both hands in hopes that there is still plenty of it. More time to do the things you still have not gotten around to, more time with your kids while they still desire your presence, more times with all the ones that you love. More time to do the things you dreamed to do once you finally know what it is that inspires you.
As I write this an image keeps playing in my head of a few fantastic hours I shared with my kids on the shores of Tybee Island a few weeks ago on vacation. I watched my kids live in the moment! they were laughing and smiling and to no one at all...they were just happy. Gavin, who is now taller than me would wade out to almost his shoulders, turn his back on the waves outstretch his arms as far as he could and just fell back on their crest and rode them to shore. That is how I am going to live the rest of this days, arms wide open around the ones I love, and happy for the moment!