on aging

On NBC Nightly News tonight, there was a lovely interview of President Bush (#41) by his granddaughter, Jenna. He’s turning 88, and was reflecting on aging and it really got me to thinking about my thoughts on aging recently.

Today, G was doing what the kids love to do – climbing on her momma and trying to hang onto my feet and let me drag her around. And maybe if I were more physically fit it would be okay. And maybe also if she didn’t weigh half my weight it wouldn’t be so bad. But really – my body just isn’t cut out for it anymore.

Back when it was okay for the kids to crawl all over me...

Aging has kinda slapped me in the face this year: I had my 40th birthday and since then decided that vanity wins over avoiding unnecessary chemicals and I’ve now invested in some anti-aging products. I’m still going au naturel with the haircolor and hoping that I’ve inherited at least one good gene from my parents and just like my dad, I’ll go a long time before going grey.

My babies aren’t babies any more: S can now get my feet off the ground when he tries to pick me up (and I’m not even helping him like I used to!) and when he stands next to me the top of his head comes up to my nose. It’s probably been a couple of years since I’ve read him a bedtime story and now G can read her own books too (though she likes for me to read them to her while she takes a bath and get ready for bed).

But worse than seeing the wrinkles on me and thinking about the “human development” video that S will be watching in 4th grade next year, is seeing my parents age. This year I’ve visited them in the hospital more times than I care to think about. I’ve seen their health go down and up and back down again. I know (as I’ve known for a long time) that there will be a time when they won’t be around anymore, but I just don’t want that to happen for a long, long time. As I think about what time we have left – both with my parents and also with my kids while they are still KIDS – I have to wonder if I’m getting the most out of it? Are we spending quality time together? Are we doing enough to just enjoy being with each other? Are we too attached to the craziness of modern life to slow down and do things as a family while we are still together as a family?

I have lots of happy memories with my family and I’m hoping that my kids have them as well. I know that they have moreĀ proof of those moments in their lives just due to the ease of modern technology (how expensive would it be to take the bajillion pictures I normally take of my kids if I were using film?), but are the moments they haveĀ quality moments? Will they tell their kids stories about their childhoods? And if so, what will they tell them?

Sometimes you gotta get some paint on the camera and take a really bad self-portrait to capture the memories.

So, here are my resolutions I hope to keep in the future in order to make the most of our memory-making moments:

  • take more pictures…of everything!
  • be in some pictures with my kids – one day they will all be taller than me so I need more evidence that I was once 2nd tallest in the family
  • get away from the computer, iphone, TV, whatever other gadget and spend time just doing stuff with the kids
  • spend time with my parents and Hubs’ parents and start collecting their stories
  • Enjoy Life!

As I told G tonight when she broke into tears because she had left her book downstairs, “you can choose to be happy or sad – it’s up to you to decide when it’s not worth being sad about something.” (okay, quotes aren’t really necessary because I’m paraphrasing myself, but no one reads this anyway so I’m sure the punctuation police will let it slide). So I’m going to work harder on enjoying life. Weird that I have to resolve to do that. Shouldn’t we all be enjoying life more?

Sometimes, the best things in life really are free. And for a kid, a puddle is one of the best things!

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