LIFE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

Our millennial daughter has been gone from the home since graduating high school. Amy’s return trips to the homestead often made me feel like I was a science experiment, being assessed by metrics on the AGING SCALE! Dad’s assessment was done on car rides and walks, pressuring me to fess up “issues” that were on a need to know basis, and since she wasn’t living with us, she didn’t need to know! But MOM, well, the boxing gloves came off each visit and the aging assessment was brutal, honest and ALWAYS from a place of love.

And so it came to pass that the summer of she and her husband living with us began. We had just downsized and some luxuries went by the wayside. I confess, I LOVE my designer water, having tasted the iron in well water for too long during my 20’s. We always had a sparkling water machine which dispensed cool, clear water at a flick of a lever, truly an indulgence. But, in our new abode, it was either my sparkling water machine or a laundry sink and the sink won as practicality overrode luxury. Hubby assured me that single serve bottles would satisfy my thirsty passion. Amy and Jon arrived with their car filled to the brim for their summer in the country. Hugs and kisses were shared and we welcomed them into our new home. WITHIN 5 MINUTES Amy started in:

Amy: Where’s the sparkling water machine?

Mom: We had no space but look, I have single serve bottles, (which I proudly displayed);

Amy: That’s bad for the environment, you need to get a filter on your faucet. It fits on all faucets and you can always return it, just try it, (at least she wasn’t asking me to try Botox on my face);

Mom: I like my water, (and my face I silently think) and we recycle the bottles so I AM helping the environment;

Amy: The plastic is bad for the environment;

Mom: At my age, I’m entitled to be indulgent! (playing the age card does wonders in a family disagreement).

As Amy’s tone became more agitated and our bodies squared off during this verbal battle, Jon looked on in horror, having not seen this side of our loving, respectful relationship. Suddenly, all parties stopped yapping and I opened my arms and gave Amy a huge hug and told her I loved her for her passion. A few minutes later, I overheard Jon say to her, “I thought you were going to wait a few days before having that conversation.” So, this is what I get for sending her to a progressive, environmentally conscious college where those pesky foam packing “peanuts” were outlawed!

A few years ago I got a new car. Amy was home for vacation and we did our traditional outing: off to the mall for shopping, eating and shopping. I was so eager to begin our afternoon nirvana that I didn’t pay attention to where I had parked, forgetting to look at my familiar landmarks of aisle markers or store names. Several hours later, many dollars gone, stomachs full of yummy delights, we began to LOOK FOR THE CAR. Wandering the parking aisles with arms loaded with shopping bags, Amy remarked in a rather snarky tone, “so Mom, where’s the car? I’d really like to get home in this century.” I sheepishly replied, “I sort of forgot where we parked and it is a new car and I’m not use to looking for it.” WOW, did I leave myself open for the, “I’m really concerned about your memory” lecture. Yes, we found the car in this century, and yes, my brilliant daughter gave me many useful suggestions as to how to improve my memory and other mental functions. My thought bubble said, ” just you wait Missy until you reach your 60’s and see what it’s like watching the world spin past you”, and like all of my thought bubbles, this one stayed inside my seemingly aging brain! The pearls of wisdom she dispensed were to read a variety of genres which began my love affair with iBooks. Since I had also been struggling with my eye hand coordination, she put this coloring app on my phone. OH MY, what beautiful pictures I now make with these marvelous adult coloring book/apps, (I have since branched out to 2 more coloring apps). The only downside is that hubby makes fun of me, but since I have a thick skin, I just keep happily coloring away. BTW: it’s a great way to pass the time while at the beauty shop waiting to get your hair washed!

On yet another visit home, SHE ATTACKED my eating habits as she was now living in Los Angeles, the city of designer yogurt and kale. It appeared that my breakfast of shredded wheat mixed with chocolate kiddie cereal doused with whole milk lacked the nutritional components which were acceptable for my age group, (OUCH-my fragile ego can only take so much of this healthy aging stuff and I do love my kiddie foods). To keep peace with my loving millennial, I switched to bran flakes with raisins, doused with almond milk and a satisfied quiet graced my home!

I have salt and pepper hair which gives my baby face and small frame a mature topping, even though I recently got carded at the grocery store while buying a 6 pack of beer, (what an ego boost!). As Amy’s wedding day approached, hubby asked her if she thought I should dye my hair to hide the gray. Amy reproached him: “Mom would be horrified if you asked her that”, so hubby tucked his thoughts into a deep, loving place in his heart, silently longing for the good old days of our youth, (turning gray early is one of those genetic traits I carry). When looking at her wedding pictures I was HORRIFIED to see that my hair photographed white in the sun and more pepper than salt under the tent. My advice to all you who have salt and pepper “toppers”…if your millennial child has an outdoor wedding, a lovely hat will help to lessen the feeling of aging that will overcome you when your child stands at the alter and pledges love forever to someone who is not YOU. Tears flow and faces glow but your hair color will always be your reminder that mother nature is knocking on the back door of your aging body!

A few perks I have found as I have embraced being a baby boomer who is over 65:

-reduced public transit fares, (at least in the Midwest);

-reduced admission to many museums and movies;

-reduced airfare on some airlines;

-senior discount day at Walgreens;

EMBRACE AGING: don’t be embarrassed to use those neat gadgets to open bottles that are just too tight for arthritic fingers. We have earned our wisdom, lived long, seen many things and have opinions that need to be heard, even if our millennial children think they have all the answers. Live in the moment and love every day because surprises often come when we least expect them.

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