On Being an "Older" Parent
I never thought that at 46 I would be the mom of not only two adult children, but also five younger children between the ages of 3 and 9. I loved being a stay at home mom and raising my two eldest children, but back in my twenties and thirties, life was so much about me. Was I being fulfilled as a “housewife”? Had I missed out by not having a career and making my mark upon the world? And my husband! Back when he turned forty, we had our two children, one biological and one domestically adopted, and he was “done!” Now, at almost 55, he continues to amaze me with his heart that is so open to give what could be easy days towards the end of a career, to taking care of our often noisy bunch. And not only “taking care of” and providing for them, but doing it with a new gusto that sometimes comes with getting a second chance at parenting.
Right now being an older mom means that when I chat with my adult daughter on the phone, she talks about her coming wedding plans, while I go on about the new crib and high chair that we purchased in anticipation of our new toddler coming home! It means being the oldest mama in my children's class instead of the youngest, as I was when my first child was in school. Having a large family for us also means that friendships are harder to maintain, as there is not much time for meeting friends for coffee or lunch, and frankly people are a lot more apt to invite you over with two older children than they are a party of littles. Admittedly, we don’t get out as often as we used to, but when we do we often encounter people who seem to be trying to figure us out. Driving a very tall 15 passenger van also draws attention to our troop, and sometimes leads people to ask me which organization I work for! We often receive very kind comments from strangers about our familly, but on occasion people like to remind us that we are completely insane.
Yesterday we had our 9th winter snow day home from school, and honestly I was not looking forward to it, as freezing rain kept us indoors, and the kids were getting cranky and restless. However, it turned into one of those days that you just know is going to become a special memory. As I sat with the kids in the afternoon and worked on crafts with them, something I was loathe to do when my eldest were little, as there were always things that needed to be done around the house, or just something more diverting than messy glue and construction paper, I realized that as an older mom, sitting down and taking time to just hang out with the kids is not something that I have to make myself do to feel like a successful mom, it is something I truly enjoy.
As older parents, do we worry about our children's futures? Of course we do. Will we be able to pay for them all to go to college? Most likely not. What I do know is that they are in God’s hands. They are loved, they cherish being a part of a family, they are home.