Friday, November 23, 2012
It's Hell Getting Old
The holiday weekend is one that's beginning to make me feel my days. I finally perhaps realize that unlike my nephews, I am not only no longer able to sit at a Thanksgiving table and gorge myself on the inordinate quantities of well-prepared food that they can, or even the amount that I would like to. In spite of this tremendous and somewhat surprising effort on my part not to indulge my appetite unfortunately, I continue to look as if I have. I have likewise discovered that I am no longer interested in indulging my past desires to place myself in 'the grip of grape' as a part of my holiday entertainments, sufficing with but a single glass passing my lips.
Of course this particular holiday weekend was for me probably much more about my son Sean as it was about the menu, since he brought his lovely fiance Sarah Moglia to the City of Fountains in order to introduce her to the better part of my immediate family. The chance to learn a bit more about her and to see the way that they are together has been wonderful; and I look forward to them setting a date. On top of all that, we were able to talk about their impending closing on an absolutely gorgeous house in Columbus, Ohio in the next few weeks. The conjoining of so many happy events today carries all of the portents for many wonderful things ahead of them.
This then will mean that my step-son, son, and daughter will all have joined themselves to beginnings, new lives, and new families of their own. Why Sean and Sarah even went so far as to take the opportunity yesterday to break the news to those gathered that there soon will be a new addition to their family (not a child but a puppy, though I have to admit they had all of us going for a bit). This means that all three therefore are on their own paths, doing very well indeed, and should have all that all that a parent could wish for his offspring to look forward. While obviously pleased at their all of their good fortune and being overjoyed for each of them; I couldn't help but feel a touch of selfish nostalgia for those days in my own past.
Beyond my other frailties, it now began to occur to me that I was no longer needed as a guide in their lives and must relegate myself ever more to the sidelines. I also realized that much of what they will be experiencing and looking forward to in the days and years ahead are those now far behind me. The joys of taking a house and making it your own, the wonder of watching your children miraculously change almost daily, and the glow of the world around you when you're in love now things I remember rather than experience. They have now become things that are theirs to know. This is not to say that any of these things were altogether unknown to me, but that as each day passes, their likelihood of recurrence diminishes.
For those of you who have not yet had such a realization thrust upon you, let me tell you that it can indeed be earth shattering. Prior experiences of offspring graduations or even a first grandchild that you believe have prepared you for the inevitability of this process, in fact do nothing to brace you for the stunning impact of this terrible realization when it comes. Neither will looking in the mirror, since no matter what face it is that you believe is looking back at you, it's not the one that the rest of the world sees.
I suppose that over time this new perspective will also begin to fit itself into the greater consciousness of my life, but I suspect that it will do so only slowly and grudgingly. For through those rose colored glasses, I still see myself as the incurable romantic; the white knight seeking noble causes to follow, ready to right any wrong, and ever-hopeful of rescuing the fair maiden. Then of course I see a number on the scale that makes me believe that I must be wearing armor all the time these days, my knees begin to creek as I take on the only quest I'm capable of ... a journey to the kitchen seeking out a snack, and I remember that while the fair young maiden may be seeking a white knight, the color she longs for is supposed to in the uniform and does not refer to that of his hair or beard.
Perhaps my attitude will improve with the approach to Christmas. Not only is the resemblance its seemingly lovable character far closer; but if I play my cards right, I may even find someone who is not all that young and nowhere near a maiden interested in sitting in my lap as she tells me how good she's been in the last years (which is OK even if she's lying).
(Wait, was Santa ever portrayed in a suit of armor? Nah ......)
Yep, it really is Hell getting old ....