“The Inevitability of Aging”

My Grandmother (Mom’s side) recently passed on. In December of 2013 she died in her sleep at 103 years old. I turned 51 years old on the 20th of March and I’m still not half her age. My other Grandmother lived to be 98. Unfortunately, both of my Grandfathers’ died before any of us seven grandchildren were born. We as kids were never held, or cradled or amusingly chased by a “Papa” or “Granddad”. How odd and yet how accepting it has always been because that was simply the norm.
At 51 years old and a parent of a 5 year old only child, it’s a reality to think that I could actually be grandfather to my little girl. Prior to having met my wife in 2003, I had pretty much presumed that children were out of the picture for me. At the time, I was perfectly fine with it. In fact, I’m quite sure my wife was fine with it too. I did state very clearly to her though that if that little bell went off in her head and signaled to her a desire to carry a child, then she must speak up or I’ll likely consider that she’s ok not becoming a mother; especially given that she is a highly trained classical musician and that her field of choice was quite demanding, and could knowingly be prominent in such a serious decision. If there was one thing I wouldn’t do, it would be to deny my wife her instinctual and natural right to bear a child and become a mother. When she indicated that she wanted to have a baby, we took the leap both happily and lovingly.
There’s quite a difference in having a baby in your 20’s or 30’s to having one in your mid 40’s and up. Having a baby in your 40’s reminds you of the inevitable aging process. In your mid 40’s, it isn’t until the baby has arrived that you truly recognize how old you are. What a wake-up call! There are so many things to factor:
• You weren’t likely financially prepared (Are you ever?) at the time of decision to have a child and because you’re that much closer to the retirement age compared to your 20’s-30’s. You’ve got some catching up to do. Serious adjustments must be made.
• Your health and metabolism have altered themselves to the mid-life realm.
• Because of the above, you’d best get yourself in good shape to meet the demand.
• What you had been striving for as a childless adult has now been somewhat washed away. Your priorities have taken a new direction.
• While all of your friends have sent their kids off to college, you are just getting to diapers.
• You begin to think retirement is a forgone conclusion.
There is so much more, but the one thing the inevitability of aging cannot take away from you is the joy –the realization and wonderment of life. Regardless of aging, the process of parenting is quickly learned. The intuitive and natural guardian elements of feeding, protecting, teaching and nurturing are already there, but the physical practices of time management, dressing, bathing, gymnastics, car seats and cribs take some getting used to. We are fortunate my wife and I, in that we have no existing conditions or ailments that interfere with our ability to keep up with parental responsibility. We remain true to faith and good-naturedness to help guide us along and we remind ourselves that we will one day have to simply submit to the inevitability of aging.

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