Being a widow stinks. Big time.
But being an older mother is pretty great.
Apart from people asking whether I like babysitting my granddaughter, it’s much better than I imagine young motherhood would be. (The first time that happened, I was so horrified I ran right over to the drug store and got dye to cover every last grey hair. Guess what. I don’t care, now.)
When my daughter has friends over, we make popcorn, and it is a big deal. We measure out the oil and the popcorn kernels and listen for the popping, and then melt butter to pour over it. It takes a long time, and it is fun. I can entertain an entire cadre of sleepover kids this way.
Of course younger parents CAN do this. But for me it is natural, not something I have to learn.
I believe I am more patient than I would have been as a younger mother. I can’t prove it, I just believe it, based on the type of person my 20 year old diaries reveal me to have been.
I love that by the time my daughter was born, I had already finished college, had a good career, saved some for retirement. I’d achieved enough of my dreams that I would never blame the ones I where I didn’t succeed on the burden of her existence.
I admit there are areas I would like her to succeed in where I failed, but being older and more established than my own mother was, I am better able to provide my child the support she needs to succeed—in HER dreams, not mine.
I’ve lived through a lot of fashion trends and music trends, so I don’t think THIS generation is up to no good. “Revealing” clothing now? Naw. I was a teen in the 70s, when nobody wore a damn bra, what do I care about tight Lularoe, or spaghetti straps?
I’m also old enough to know, regarding sexism, that it USED to be we’d notice it but say it was OK (boys are doctors and girls are nurses, that is the way of the world) but now we know sexism is wrong but try to claim that THIS problem is not really sexism (why, of COURSE there’s a good, non sexist reason every single inspirational quote on the school calendar is by a guy!). It’s rather pathetic as progress goes. And having that sort of perspective makes it much easier to help my child than it would be if I didn’t see the changes as they happened. (Nope, been there, done that, this is bullshit no matter how you dress it up, and my child WILL be on the wrestling team if the only barrier you can come up with is her gender.)
Now that I am closer to retirement age than college age, I do have moments of, “What have I done???” This is because I realize that even if I live to be as old as my venerable grandmother, I will surely be dead before my daughter is 50, and that is a sad thing. Nuthin’ I can do about that now, though.
I have lots and lots of regrets, but if I had to do it again, I would choose to be a mother older, just as I am.