The first time I recognized how old feels was when I got on a plane to Europe and the kids were home, or at college and we were on our own. Ordinarily, I'd feel some dread--the kind that would make me wish I could get right off the plane and go home. I wasn't scared about going to Europe; I feared losing my life in a crash. And you'll be surprised as to why. I didn't want to leave my still young children with the heartache losing a mother.
After so many years of listening to woman talk about their childhood, I recognize how difficult life was for those who didn't have a mom to raise them to adulthood. The thought of those girls, not having a mom to raise them until they could take over and "raise themselves" was ever present in my mind.
I wanted my fledgling birds to be ready for the push out of the nest and to be able to make it on her own. That's a big step, and they've made it. I wasn't ready to let go of my girls tilll they were out of college, onto careers and living with the men they chose.
Then I could fly; in every sense of the word.
I could hop on a plane, go where I wanted and not worry about a crash. It if happened, the girls would be left with great memories, memorabilia, scrap books, and lots of insurance money. I know they'd miss me terribly, but they'd manage with each other and their own loved ones.
That's a GREAT feeling, and it only comes when you are old enough to know you have launched the kids and you are ready to relaunch yourself.
Sure, personal illness, lack of descretionary income, loss of other loved ones and missing them all gets in the way, but with age, comes independence like none other. Jay and I can hop a plane and not look back. We can go out to do whatever we want at whatever hour and not worry about babysitters. We can walk around the house, naked and no one will notice but us. That's independence.
But the best thing of all is that we don't have to close the doors to be intimate. Only dogs are around and they don't seem to notice. When the kids were little, they always seemed to know there was much more going on in the bedroom than sleep, and they'd huddle against the closed door to get whatever info they could, if we weren't quiet enough. We'd hear the rustle of their bodies against the door.
Once, they actually busted in the door, and Jenn pushed Laura in front of her and then practically fell over her sister in a Chevy Chase/Steve Martin kind of way, all the time keeping their eyes on us. Happens to every set of parents I've known, but it never seems funny at the time. But now, it's really funny and everybody laughs about it.
So the older daughter and her husband go to Jamaica every New Years for a 10-day vacation. This year, they invited us along. That means six of us--three couples to three rooms and the trip on a plane to Montego Bay. This time I might be nervous because if the plane goes down, we all go down together.
But that might be a good thing. Nobody to mourn. Just another facet of getting older. And I'm loving it.