Aging Beautifully


WARNING! DEPRESSING MONOLOGUE BELOW.
(I’ll let you know when its coming so you can skip to the happy ending if you want)

I spent my first two nights away from Afton and John this weekend. Last weekend John took me away for a night while my parents watched the babe, which was fun. It helped prepare me for my weekend trip with some dear ladies from our church. I worried about the fact that I had signed up for this all the way up until I was on my way there, chatting it up with some of my favorite NLC women. On the way back from the gym Friday morning I nearly had a panic attack wondering how I would survive! Most women were worried about how their husbands and children would survive without them. I was not worried in the least about John and Afton- I was worried about me missing them too much to have any fun!

Thankfully, I was ok. We stopped at the Steepery to grab tea for the road and I received a text from my husband- before I had even left town- that Afton had already crossed a milestone within the first 15 minutes of my absence. She went from crawling (which she has JUST begun to do consistently) to a sitting position on her bum. Very proud of her. Unfortunately, it didn’t take her long to discover that standing is barely out of reach now that she can maneuver herself around the room to larger pieces of furniture. She will be walking in no time.
Time is flying.
Maybe I should call my blog “I can’t believe how fast time has gone!” since I say that ALL. THE. TIME. Sorry- the fact that life flies by so quickly is still a shock to me. I might never get over it. I’m already one of those people that tells kids to stop growing. I used to roll my eyes at people like that and think- “Why don’t you just appreciate how big I am?! Don’t you realize I’ve been a kid my whole life? Thank heavens I’m finally growing! And stop referring to everything I have as ‘little!”

Annd…here we are.

Yesterday our small group leader made the comment that he has lived more days at this point than he has left to live. Apparently he calculated it. Depressing, yes. True? Also yes, most likely.

Do you think it gets faster every year? Or just once you have kids? I mean, I swear it was just Christmas and then BAM- there it is again and this time my baby is crawling around on the floor and laughing and getting into presents instead of kicking my belly ever so softly. This time last year I was “poking it out” as much as possible because I was so sick of people telling me they couldn’t even tell I was pregnant…silly me. I probably won’t be so lucky next time. But I was so excited that there was a baby girl inside of me I would have worn a pin if I had one to announce it to everyone- I didn’t really need one. I told almost everyone I could- even the peeps that really didn’t care.

I digress.

Can we talk about getting old? It’s really on my mind. I make jokes, but the truth of the matter is, most of the time, the fact that we are all headed to death (but first, most likely helplessness) makes me really, really sad.

I love watching my grandparents (especially my Papa) work on things. My Papa has such strong hands, arms and he is one of the smartest people I know. He knows how to do almost anything when it comes to building…anything. He could build an entire house himself- including plumbing, decor, etc. He is just unbelievable. If it weren’t a very unwise decision financially, I would buy an old farmhouse RIGHT NOW so that he could help us remodel it while he is still able because it pains me to think that soon, my grandpa will not be able to do what he does now. If I’m honest with myself, he rests a lot more during projects now than he did before. I pretend not to see it because it hurts too much.

I long to be comfortable with aging, and see it as beautiful, the way my Grandma B. once described it. In 2008, she called me to tell me she has been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. While we both cried, she asked me to believe the best in her, no matter what she might say in the future, and to always remember that she loves me so much. She also told me that growing old was such a gift from God because the older she gets the more opportunities she has to see the Lord carry out his work in her life and in the lives of her children and their children. She made growing old sound beautiful despite the news she delivered that day.

I wish I still believed her. Today I struggled to keep the tears out of sight as we sat together holding hands, her crying because she wished she could remember who I was yet pleading with me not to leave. I miss my grandma so much. She knows who I am most of the time and she certainly delights in Afton. God blesses us with wonderful times together so often, but there is always a good chance during our visit, that she will become fuzzy, say things that are hard to hear, or shut down for a moment realizing that age is getting the best of her. Things have changed.

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I’d rather pretend this wasn’t happening, and I think for a long time, I did, because it hurts to see her this way, when even a year ago, things were so much different.

The truth of the matter is, I’m headed in the same direction. I’m aging right now, though the pace is still more gradual. If I’m honest with myself, though it would be nice, I might not be one of the lucky few that will be caught up in the rapture.(Even though I wished it in my 8 year old diary that it would happen to me at the ripe old age of 35!). I will probably live to see the days become more and more evil, and I will probably talk about these days being good. I will probably be lonely at some point near the end of my life and I might also be confused.

(HAPPY ENDING
My mind may fail, but my soul will be in tact because my soul will not die with my body.

I asked my Grandma if we could pray together before I left. I prayed, and closed. She held on tightly to my hand, and then she prayed. Listening to my grandma talk to God brought more clarity to my thoughts on aging than I’ve ever had.

“God, thank you for never changing, the way that we do. Thank you for being everything to us, when there is nothing else left for us to give. Thank you for being my strength forever.”

When she finished, she looked at me and told me I’d better leave or we’d both just sit there like blubbering fools until dinner. She is a funny lady. She also recently told me that she enjoys jumping on the mats they lay below her bed “Just for fun and to to see if they work.”

“My health fails; my spirit droops, yet God remains! He is the strength of my heart; He is mine forever!” Psalm 73:26

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