When I look at my mid-life self, I am reminded that I am not as young as I once was. The age spots that have popped up on my face and hands could allow me to compete handily with any sheep in the Speckle Face division at the county fair.
The silver strands in my hair could double as Christmas tinsel and my neck mostly reminds family chefs that they should not forget to pick up the bird that will serve as the centerpiece for the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Every now and then Mother Nature steps in and does her job with great clarity. And just as all mothers, she means business because she is very busy.
I remember being a young mother and chasing after small children, wiping both ends, being splattered with pureed peas because of an unexpected baby sneeze; washing diapers, getting puked on and helping sick babies, even if it meant sleep came 20 minutes at a time.
Then came elementary school and we were busy with birthday parties, parent-teacher conferences and making valentines for school.
Middle school came and we tried to explain the 911 attacks, began our journey into the world of volleyball and wrestling and watched with pride as our daughter gave the class president speech at her eighth grade graduation.
When high school arrived we continued that sports journey, welcomed a brand new family member from Germany and wiped away tears with her last hug before she returned to her own family after a year with us.
Those bittersweet tears returned as our sons accepted medals at the state wrestling tournament, and again as each of our children walked across the stage to accept scholarships, awards and to get their high school and college diplomas, and begin their adult lives as people of agriculture.
But as the children were growing older, apparently I was, too.
I’d been seeing the signs for some time, but it wasn’t until recently in a local discount store that I realized what was truly happening to me while I was so busy all those years.
I hurried around gathering up a handful of things, when I stopped to determine if I had gotten everything I went there for. (Forgetfulness is so inefficient.)
What I saw was color preserve shampoo, something to whoa hot flashes, something to soothe my aching hip joints and some vitamins for women over 50.
And suddenly the mystery was solved.
Good Lord. I was middle-aged. And it was like a rocket ship had just landed on Mars.
How did this happen to me? When did this happen to me? Did I really use all those things in my hands? I was in denial, and yet there were all those things – staring back at me.
I was sure senility would come next. I remembered the prayer I had once read, “God, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do like, and the eyesight to tell the difference.”
Good heavens. I would need glasses to be on top of that one, too. And so I was middle-aged.
There are many who have missed the chance to get that far in life, so that makes me one of the lucky ones. I got to see our children grow up and am still enjoying the pleasure of watching my mother live in her 80s. I have been richly blessed.
John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while we are busy making other plans.” And the proof of it was in my hands that day at the store.
I’ll just be happy if they don’t check my teeth at the Speckle Face Sheep Show. A lady never tells her age.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and at www.karenschwaller.com.
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