I see other women my age (post-menopausal) who seem to accept who they are...more or less. Yes, they might try to "turn back the hands of time", but they seem to know who--and how old--they are. On the other hand, I've been struggling for years to reconcile the old woman I encounter in the mirror with the 45 year old lady I expect to see.
And now I know why.
Before I reached my 30th birthday, I thought I had my life-plan in place. My youngest child would finish college while I was still in my mid-forties, and there would most likely be many good, healthy years ahead for my husband and me to enjoy life as a couple. But before that day came we found ourselves with one grandchild to care for...and then another. And shortly thereafter it became necessary for us to become their legal guardians. Eventually it became apparent that this was no longer a temporary arrangement and we would remain parents until these two precious children were grown.
I love my grand/daughters dearly, I truly do, and for their sake I was happy to spend the past 18 years caring for them. But now I'm old, tired, and falling apart. And last week, just a few months after I allowed myself to once again entertain ideas of a carefree future, my dreams were...once again...shattered.
I thought we had the oldest grand/daughter on her way to adulthood. She seemed to have a plan and we thought she was on her way to achieving her goals, but then she dropped the bombshell that she wanted a do-over. Not only did she drop out of college (after we had paid for the entire year), but now she wanted to take a year off to figure things out.
When, oh when, will it be my turn? I have it figured out...if only everybody else would do what they're supposed to be doing!
And it isn't just the death of my dreams that has me upset. The stress of endlessly raising children--and not always agreeing on the best way to do that--is taking a toll on my marriage. My husband and I celebrated our anniversary yesterday, but by today there wasn't much to celebrate. I still love him and I think he still loves me, but I don't know how many more stress-fueled arguments we can endure while trying to deal with the seemingly-endless task of raising children into responsible adults.
Anyway, back to the old lady in the mirror. The much-younger lady inside put her life on hold at 45, and subconsciously must have expected to come back eventually and find things just the way she had left them. But it doesn't work that way. My life stopped...but the clock didn't. And I'm not especially happy about it all. Not because I can't handle a little adversity or hard work, but because I have a difficult time dealing with the impact on my life from the immature, irresponsible, selfish choices of others.
Today was excruciatingly difficult. Tomorrow is looking like it might be worse. But I'll try to start fresh anyway, and pray that if it can't be better I'll at least make it through. God has brought me this far, and I have faith He'll carry me on from here. He might have to. I'm not getting any younger.
|Just trying to finish the race.|