Growing Older But Not Up

I’m growing older but not up, my metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck, let the winds of time blow over my head, I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead. Jimmy Buffett

Oh yes sir, Jimmy, you seem to capture the mood perfectly. I get it.  You know, sometimes I think there are more firsts when you’re older than when you’re younger.  Or, maybe it’s just that the firsts when you’re older can have a bit more impact or be a little uncomfortable. For one thing there’s  the medical stuff (colonoscopies, mammograms, etc) that are so enjoyable! Although I did have little fun at my first mammogram – I told the technician “They’re little, but they’re really long”.  That got a laugh (from both of us actually because I’m prone to think I’m pretty funny even when I’m not).

It’s hard, too, to see the people you love aging – ever notice that it’s seems like everyone else is getting older but you’re not?  You just can’t see it I guess.  It was a pretty good clue for me, though, when I started getting letters from AARP. Ha!  And now I worry about my little mama – she’s been such a force in my life and such a wonderful mom.  She taught me to be positive and loving and giving and to put my faith in God – all the good parts of me.  She’s dealt with Parkinson’s disease for going on 15-20 years now – throughout she’s maintained a positive attitude, never felt sorry for herself and just kept on truckin’.  She’s had a fairly mild case of it compared to lots of others, and I am completely convinced that her faith and her wonderful attitude have tons to do with that.  And she is FUN.

When she was first diagnosed we went out to lunch together one day.  She was pretty excited about a Parkinson’s newsletter she’d gotten and she was telling me all about it.  I asked her what they called the newsletter and she said, ‘Well, I don’t know, why do you ask?”.  I told her I thought they should call it “What’s Shaking” and she laughed so hard she farted!  The both of us made such a scene laughing that I think people thought we were losing our minds.

She used to wet her pants, too, when she laughed real hard and of course that would cause more laughter.  My first real boyfriend and I had a fight one night and I came home all torked off about it, came in house and slammed the door and stomped up the stairs.  My parents were sitting at the table and I proceeded to tell them what an awful person Jake was (his name has been changed to protect the innocent – hi Tim!!) and then I went to bed. 

Later that night Tim Jake was throwing pebbles at my window to get my attention and it woke my parents up (he started off on their side of the house and then moved around to the back of the house).  My Dad, who had wicked sense of humor, decided to have some fun.  He had an shotgun or rifle (I don’t know the difference, but you had to pump it – like the one Chuck Conners had in the TV show The Rifleman). You know, it made a loud kchung kchung sound.  It didn’t work because some vital part was missing, but it still sounded scary.  So we all snuck into the dining room – this was at the back of the house and there was a screened in deck back there (it was a split level so it was up high).  We had big floodlights back there.  My dad told my mom that when he gave the signal she should turn on the floodlights.  Then he very quietly opened the sliding glass door and went out on the deck (for a big guy, he could be very sneaky). Then in a loud voice he said, “Turn on the lights, Sandy, I’m gonna shoot that SOB!” And kchunged kchunged the gun. 

Oh my gosh Tim Jake ran so fast around the house (and by this time we were all peeking out the front windows) and across the front yard to his car, which was parked across the street – he got in on the passenger side and peeled out.  The funniest part was that he ran serpentine the whole way.  When we turned the lights on, there was my mama, with totally wet pants.  I think she laughed harder than  any of us!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about when I was young and really enjoying some great memories, and I think what’s brought this on is that my niece, Kayla, graduated from high school this year.  And I know that I’m prejudiced, but she is so beautiful, inside and out, and I am so proud to be her Auntie Kimmer. I see all this promise and it is so awesome to see her starting her life as an adult – even though when I think of her I still see her as a little baby with goofy hat and a serious expression.  And I know her parents, my wonderful sister-in-law and brother-in-law, are feeling mixed emotions.  I never had kids, but I imagine it must be very hard to watch them go away on their own, but at the same time so rewarding to know that you have raised a child who is going to make the world a better place. And Kayla surely will.  She’s going to be a nurse and she is going to be terrific at it. 

So, I’m feeling that odd combination of very happy and little sad all at the same time – and truthfully, I like being older.  I don’t really care about the petty stuff that used to bother me, and I think I have a better handle on what’s really important. And there’s lots more memories to be made!

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