It’s tough growing up, isn’t it? I mean, we can’t wait to be an adult so that we can make our own decisions about what shoes to wear and how we do our hair and have the ability to drive, but once we get there it’s kind of a drag. We have so many responsibilities that we didn’t count on as kids. I managed pretty well the growing up part (I was married with two step children at 20), but the growing older part…that’s a real bitch. It’s not so much that my body makes weird creaking noises when I walk or that I have hot flashes that would rival those of Joan of Ark, but the problem I’m encountering now is watching those around me age and me not be able to stop it.
There are some people that, no matter how old they are, will still be the age they were when I was a kid…at least in my head. My sister, for example, will always be in her 20s and the fun go-getter I remember from my childhood. My youngest Aunt will always be the silly fun-loving aunt that I remember from our trips to California when I was a kid. My parents, however, are aging in front of me and it is killing me. It’s tough when your dad can’t take care of things the way he used to or your mom forgets things more than she ever has. Of course, the upside to that is they can’t get onto me anymore for stuff because they need me now. LOL!! (That’s right…Shady Pines, Ma!) Still, it’s the toughest part of being an adult I think.
I’ve never been very good at accepting change either. There is evidence of that everywhere in my life…primarily with the phone I carry. Don’t get my husband started on that one. Some change, however, kills me and rips me open. Maybe it’s because I love history so much and MY history is changing and I don’t know how to deal with it. As people pass they leave what they had to others and this is somewhat difficult too because you no longer have that “place” to go to anymore or that person to see. When what is being dispersed is a house or land it is very difficult not to see that and expect to be able to just go there anymore. For example, there is land that my grandmother owned that got passed down when she died. Part of that property is being sold now and the thought of not being able to hike the same trails and see the same features she pointed out to me as a kid is ripping my guts out. Soon it will belong to strangers and over 100 years of history will belong to someone else. Part of me is excited for this, because it means that a new family will get to make their own memories there and maybe raise kids who will have all the same adventures I did in those woods, but the bigger part of me (the selfish part) is dying inside. I’m just thankful that at least I have been able to share some of that with my daughter before now. She now has those memories just like I did and knows important things about the Native Americans who had the land before us and how they used it, etc. She has seen where my Grandmother walked and the things she took care of. She has seen the unmarked cemetery on the hillside and knows that we have distant cousins buried there. She’s seen the sinkholes and the tree trunks of what used to be trees that were there before this country was founded. She’s seen the wash basin carved out of the hillside, where the Native Americans used to collect spring water. She’s splashed in the creek and caught crawdads and salamanders and ran from snakes. I’m thankful that at least I have been able to share these memories with her, if only for a little while.
I think perhaps my mom has the right idea about it all (even though it is difficult to accept.) She said she can still close her eyes and see every room in her grandmother’s house, even though they tore it down years ago. Those memories she has and holds dear to her heart. Being able to still go back there is impractical. People move on and forward and that is just how it is. Now it’s my turn to put down roots for my family and give them something to love and long for. Growing up…it sure is hard to do. I’m just sayin…