Maybe it’s because I was never much of a joiner that I find myself in this rare club: The Old Mom Club.
When my friends and sisters started having babies, I went off to college and a career. I even went as far as living in Tokyo from the ages of 26 through 30, where I couldn’t hear their biological clocks ticking or catch the pregnancy bug (it seems to spread like a virus, doesn’t it?).
Honestly I didn’t even consider wanting kids till I was married and had attained the grand old age of 36. At that point my biological clock suddenly hammered like Big Ben. I had no idea it would take more years of trying and fertility treatments and then the long winding road of international adoption before I could finally be a mommy.
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A month and a half later, I turned 40. My sister, just one year older than I, became a grandmother that same year.
Of course I’ll never forget the time I first heard the hideous G-word directed my way. At a grocery store the produce guy asked me cheerfully, “Is that your grandbaby?”
“No,” I managed to choke out, as I burned rubber, racing my shopping cart to the next aisle. I was crestfallen. I’d always been told I looked young. And I’d only had my daughter a short while then, so I didn’t have any gray hair yet.
So I tried to intellectualize my way out of it. Maybe he thought because I am a freckly blonde I couldn’t have a dark-haired, dark-eyed child? But I could feasibly (by ciphering the genetic fractions on two hands) be the grandmother. Yup, I decided, that must have been why he asked.
But after the second and third time strangers popped the dreaded Grandma Question, I had to give in to the truth my husband sprang on me when I went to him for comfort. “Well, you are old enough to be her grandmother,” he laughed.
Husbands are so helpful.
So we have accepted the undeniable – we’re kinda on the old side for parents of elementary school kids. We get tired too soon, don’t utter new-fangled words like “awesome” comfortably, and have orthopedic surgeons on our speed dial. My husband worries about how we’ll combine our retirement years with their college expenses. I fear that my, um, “hormonal transition” shall we say, is going to hit right about the same time as my girls hit their teens, making for a dangerous hormonal cocktail under our roof.
And while I would love to put a whole plastic surgery team together to make me a younger-looking mom for my girls, there’s simply no time for such silliness. Promoting longevity, keeping an open mind and maintaining a great sense of humor are going to be the keys to my parental sanity.
And most importantly, I can put up with the rude questions and desperately long, tired days because I know I’d so much rather be an old mom than never a mom at all.