My mother just turned 69 two days ago.
That means I’ll be 39 in April, with one year to go before the big Four Oh. When I was growing up, the big family history was that my grandmother was 30 when she had my mother, and my mother was 30 when she had me; so naturally, being my contrary, I’ll-show-you self, I waited a few more years after my thirtieth birthday to contemplate the idea of replicating my genes. Consequently, Bundle I will be a mere 7 when I am 40; Bundle II a mere 4. Lionel, who is 12 years older than me, has already passed the half century mark and is every day feeling the effervescent and inexorable effects of gravity.
Most days, I work, do dishes, work, do laundry, watch kids and then fall into an exhausted sleep. In the summers I add to the usual household drudgery by going outside and growing various vegetables, meats and fruits which the average consumer may feel are out of reach of both their pocketbooks and ability to adequately cook– what does one do with a rutabaga, a swiss chard, a beet, anyway? How do I manage to fillet an entire chicken? What do you mean you slaughtered them by yourself? I still observe the world but can’t express it in more sentences than it might take in a Facebook update; who has the time?
Frustrated? Old? Possibly, I just need to break out a little.
Just now I went to a clothing store and bought this weird sweatshirt/dress thing. Very comfortable, kind of bizarre, I instantly fell in love with it and after buying it proudly took it out of the store thinking that I’d finally managed to look out of my little box. But just now I realized that the thing is standard black/gray, the same color combination I always gravitate towards. So much for orginality. So much for age bringing wisdom or clarity.
Naturally since I have two girls and, being a tomboy myself, I try to balance my need to dress both kids in Carhartts and boots with their need to play Princess and discover the world of fairies, and I’ve found I’ve become a lot more open minded about what feminism might mean in the long run. I find myself wondering if I’d have been so militant in the opposite direction with a son– would I have insisted that he have access to dresses and dolls so that he could choose his own gender? Or would I have just gravitated towards the trucks and legos because that’s where I myself had always gone? Without a doubt my daughters are both richer for the wider world they have access to. But it’s made my world both narrower and wider as well. Nothing is quite as black and white anymore as it used to be. Maybe that just comes with my great old age.
So it is December 28, 2012 and we have survived the Mayan Apocalypse but we’re heading into the great climate cliff for which we are neither prepared for nor entirely even believe. Nonetheless, we’re heading into a future of many tragedies, many triumphs, many challenges, many unknowns, and hopefully for all of us; many, many years. Possibly, amongst all the varying peoples, varying attitudes and opinions, maybe the one abiding thing we all share is time.
Time, time, time.