Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Life Stages


We are visiting with several generations of family this week. I'm enjoying all the stages of life, from my grandson at 22 months, who is just learning to communicate, my daughter and son-in-law with all of the stresses and fun of a new family, and my youngest, fresh out of college. We are in the mix, grandparents who are semi-retired due to the worst economy in our lifetime.

My grandson is the glue. He keeps everyone entertained and always hopeful. He is a joy to be around. We all adore him, and he responds in kind. My youngest is looking for new roommates, more in line with the things she likes to do. We bore her with our staying home at night and lack of enthusiasm for music festivals and bluegrass.

My older daughter and son-in-law, on the other hand, find grandparents very useful. Having a built-in babysitter, and others willing to entertain said grandson is valuable. Never to be underestimated. Freeing.

We are also visiting my mother-in-law, recently widowed and 97 years old. She lives in a lovely retirement home, but as she becomes more fragile, we are waiting for that time when we will move her from her small apartment to assisted living. That time may be very soon.

We are in the post-mid part of our life. Young enough to enjoy it, and old enough to know better than to take it for granted. We watch friends our own age struggle with life-threatening illnesses, and we know that for this moment in time we are blessed. Our family intact, our health stable. But we are also sandwiched, like so many of you. Aging parents, children struggling to get a foothold in life.

All the life stages. All with beauty and uncertainty.

I guess that's what it's all about. Enjoying the ride. It careens right along, sweeping us up, moving us along, and eventually it puts us down. It's the sweet moments, the sunsets, the laughs, the kisses, that make it all worthwhile. A good reminder to pay attention to those moments. When all is said and done, it's our memories and the things we paid attention to that will determine a life well-lived ... or not.

31 comments:

The Good Cook said...

I too find myself mid-life and marveling at all the changes, possibilities and in general, life.

With one son grown, married and parenting, another son at college and the last two in their last years of high school I look forward to spending more quality time with my husband, more time for myself and of course cheering all of the young kidadults on to having fulfilling lives of their own.

All the stages of life. Magnificent!

Ambiance in the Attic said...

This was so eloquently stated! I am right there with you in the post-middle stage. Oh! what a ride!

Brian Miller said...

each generation is to be appreciated for what they bring...each perspective another layer to the same onion. have fun.

loved this line "All the life stages. All with beauty and uncertainty."

Jeff D'Antonio said...

"Young enough to enjoy it, and old enough to know better than to take it for granted."

I guess I consider myself fortunate in that I came to that realization much earlier in life than most people (although I had to go through hell before coming to that realization, so maybe "fortunate" isn't really the right word). Most people my age are still caught up in the meaningless stuff, and I always feel a little sorry for them. They're missing so much by not paying attention to what's important - if they only knew...

But experience is the best teacher, so I just smile and hope that someday experience will teach them what it's all about, before it's too late.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Well said, boy do I relate to this post!

lakeviewer said...

Right On! Enjoy what you can; life doesn't stand still.

Rain said...

Brilliant Nancy! Enjoy the ride while you have the wheels right? Kids have a way of teaching us that what's happening right now is the most important thing in the world!!! Enjoy your visits!

Kay said...

very endearing and thought provoking for me to read this today, thank you! and enjoy this time of which you can spend the time with all of those you love ;)

Verily I go. said...

Thank you for this. It just feels so good, Blessings. xo



swear, veri is 'spring' never had a real word.

DJan said...

And on top of all that, which you said so very well, is that things happen you just never anticipated. Who would have guessed that this elderly women (me) would by turning 67 and having no grandchildren, after having had two sons, and having no parents either, so no assisted living, no nursing homes. It's just me and my husband. And even that small circle carries on from day to day not knowing what tomorrow brings. Today we are rich in experience, happy to be alive, even if not quite well, and looking to the future. Thanks for being my friend. You add a lot to the mix.

Joanna said...

You said it so well Nancy. We also are young enough to enjoy our life and old enough to value each day. What an incredible gift that is.

Reya Mellicker said...

What a beautiful, life enhancing post. Thank you, Nancy.

I remember the sense of revelation when I figured out that I really didn't have to make anything of my life. All I have to do is live it, try to pay attention, let the love flow in and out. The details, like career, etc. the stuff, like property or clothing, that doesn't mean a thing. It's the connections with this miraculous world and all the people I love that make my life meaningful.

Including you in that list!

Melissa said...

The stages of life is something I just really started understanding. I always took my youth for granted.

I feel so much more attune now, to the world. I get scared for the latter stages. I am learning not to take tomorrow for granted.

Thank you for this inspiring post.

ellen abbott said...

Ahhh...the complete human experience.

Cloudia said...

Amen!


Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

luksky said...

Beautifully written! Living in the moment....I think that's what it's all about. :-)

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What lovely thoughts and reflections! You have such an upbeat outlook, and you never fail to encourage me! Each day is so precious!! Thank you! ~Janine XO

Pat said...

What an honest and thought-provoking post. Yes, we need to be thankful for each day, and to live each day to its fullest, for who knows what tomorrow will bring?

linda said...

you are most definitely experiencing the best and worst of life, was my thought, as I read this....your grandson, I am so jealous but glad you get to see him so often...we are planning a trip for october...it's lovely you have him so frequently in your life as I believe that children are the greatest healers on the planet!

and life goes on...
wv: readal

Star said...

Yes, Nancy, we are indeed at the same stage of life. I also have an old lady of 97 in the family. She has recently given up her home of 24 years and moved into a care home. Where we differ at the moment is that I do not have any grandchildren yet. My youngest son is getting married next year. I enjoyed your post, looking at the brighter side of life. It is all about counting our blessings, isn't it.
Blessings, Star

California Girl said...

you are so right. every time I get pissy about this or that physical ailment, I know I am lucky to be walking on my own and still working a good job and eating three meals a day.

Mental P Mama said...

What a beautiful and insightful post. All so true. I cannot believe your MIL is doing so well at 97! Wonderful!

Deboshree said...

Hey there!
How have you been?Long time no see.
It really must be something to have people of all ages around you!
Enjoy!

Love
Deboshree

Nancy said...

ggodness your mother in law is still on her own at 97!? Wow! I want to know her health secrets!!

Great blog, makes you think.

Lori ann said...

Beautifully put Nancy, have a wonderful wonderful time.

Marguerite said...

Such a lovely post! I know that chronologically, I am in the post mid-life stage, but I still have the energy that I had when I was 30! Blessed, yes! I suppose your MIL has good energy, to be self-sufficient at 97! What an inspiration she must be to your family. How wonderful to be still be able to share her life. Have a great weekend!

susan said...

The more tightly we cling to the idea that we own or possess, the greater the unhappiness we reap. We are simply in relation to everything we know and understanding that, we can live as stewards.

Erika C. said...

Thanks for this post and I also just looked back on your recent ones which I haven't seen, since I have been caught up with things in my life and not posting.

You describe this "sandwich generation" phenomenon well. I am experiencing in too, with probably younger children than some of my peers, I will be 50 next year and my kids are 7 and 10. They keep me and my husband busy. But for me, kids, challenging as they are, have taught me so much about becoming fully human.

My father now is suffering from a variety of illnesses, some resulting from a life of excessive drinking and eating. I am so grateful to have two sisters to share in caring for him. My mother went through cancer recently but is now in remission and in good health.

Like you, I have a great deal to be grateful for.

(How did the situation with the sex offender turn out? That sounds like it was incredibly challenging.)

Also, your photos are so beautiful. You live in a part of the country that I am unfamiliar with. It is wonderful to see these photos!

love,
Erika

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"Young enough to enjoy it, and old enough to know better than to take it for granted."

Precarious place, isn't it?

Haven't been to the grand child area yet. Still in high school with one of them and the oldest due to be married, but I'm sure that sight brings much perspective.

Enjoy the family.

elizabethm said...

I utterly identify with you here! We have one grandchild, another on the way, ageing and aged parents, much to enjoy and be thankful for.

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

The ending made me teary eyed. I had a flashback of Josh and myself lying in a hotel bed giggling and thanking God for the moment we were given together.

It is a ride, a scary, beautiful, utterly intangible ride.