Monday, June 9, 2008

Things I learned about me this week, or, when did I get old?

Not all of life is funny. I think we all know this. That being said, I try to find the bits and pieces that do have comical merit and focus on them. After all, if you can't laugh at life, why even bother living? Certain events are so ridiculous that the humor is evident immediately. I will admit that there are times, though, that it takes a tiny bit of time and perspective before the humor outweighs one's pride.

For instance, last week when I tried to turn around and push my office chair away from my desk to address my daughter, got stuck in the divots in the chair mat, tipped over, and found myself looking at her from a far different perspective than originally intended- THAT was both embarrassing AND silly, and failure to acknowledge the absurdity would be as disingenuous as trying not to limp the next day when I discovered the swollen, and black and blue toe resulting from the crash (and the road rash on the elbow, LOL!). So even though my dignity tumbled with an aplomb equal to the awkwardness of my person, I had no trouble sharing my humiliation with my friends. It was funny!

Far less entertaining have been my thoughts as my younger daughter celebrated her 22nd birthday here at home with her boyfriend and family. This certainly isn't the first time that we've done the boyfriend thing. We met a couple of Kate's, and a couple of Molly's. And it isn't the first time I've had a daughter turn 22, or 23, or even 25! So why has this particular event sent me into a downward spiraling helix? I know it isn't entirely because I'm growing older; I am aware of that and still manage to find some entertainment in the growing parade of indignities my body has visited upon me. And it isn't really because I'm trying to keep my girls dependent on me or their father - I want them to be strong and independent and happy.

After a lot of thought, I think I have at least a partial answer. Before now, the aforementioned events triggered such nostalgia for me. Memories of *my* birthdays, memories of *my* boyfriends, memories of the way I felt when I met *my* Mr. Right... All of these events served to underscore my relationship with my children by sparking similar memories. Ever so loverly.

For some reason, though, this weekend, I had a blinding flash of memory that nearly sent me over the edge. Not the memory of myself at 22, celebrating a wonderful moment in my life with my family and a special guy, but rather the memory of my mother, my in-laws, celebrating the wonderful moment, but from the periphery. It's the first time I can think of that I have ever felt anything from what must have been their perspective, and it made me feel distant, separated, and, well, irrelevant. Because really, at 22 my focus was all about David and Julie, and the adults around me were sort of a warm but indistinct cocoon. A cocoon that I was doing everything I could do to leave, LOL!

Understanding this new perspective is a little humbling. I'm not comfortable with it yet, and not quite able to grasp the laughter from the ashes of my vanity. I don't doubt, however, that soon there will be a flurry in the crater and my sense of the ridiculous will climb out of the debris; a little bruised, a little sheepish, and ready to move on.

3 comments:

Kate said...

You'll always be our mommy.

And even when we groan that it's Wednesday night and we have to call our mothers, we'll spend the next 2-3 hours laughing and solving world hunger. (Although maybe not at the same time.)

Love you!

Miss Chris said...

Oh, I came here to comment with tears in my eyes and not that I just read Kate's comment I am crying unabashedly. I can not yet relate to what you are feeling exactly. But, as I struggle with Brendan growing up I am getting more glimpses than I would like of what life will be like without my baby being mama's boy. Take your time to lick these wounds. I know they run deep. Hugs!

Hummie said...

Wow....so you were looking at yourself through your mom and mother-in-laws eyes....what incite...not sure I could do that!