I knew having babies in my late 30's would be different than having babies in my late 20's. I was prepared for the increased exhaustion. I was prepared for the more frequent aches. I was even prepared for the younger children to live differently than the older ones did, being that the older ones lived in a bubble I could not recreate for the younger ones. In the back of my head I knew that the little kids' friends would have parents younger than me, but that is not the same as being prepared.
A new Bible study for mothers started recently at our church. The meetings were to be during the day and children were welcome to come, so I signed up immediately. We had our first meeting last week, and the fact of my "advanced maternal age" hit me harder than a ball thrown at my face by the two year old.
Since it is a Bible study about marriage, we began by introducing ourselves and a bit of our marital histories. All I heard was, "We've been married for 5 years, blah blah blah." Then, "We've been married for 6 years, our oldest is 4, blah, blah, blah." Again and again. Then it's my turn. "We've been married for 17 years, and our oldest is 13." And then silence. Mouths hung open. Babies stopped crying. Even the toddlers, seeing that their mothers had stopped moving, dropped their toys and stared. My own two were going right along with them, not wanting to admit that they came with me. Finally one sweet woman came to her senses and squeeled, "That is wonderful!"
I have now become both the Ghost of Everything Past as well as the Ghost of Children Future. What's the school policy on students skipping grades? Well, let me tell you! Why doesn't the church have a crying room? Well, back in the day..... Will my child still have friends in middle school if I don't let him watch the Disney Channel now? In my experience... Will I ever stop feeling guilty for staying home and not bringing money into the family budget? Well, over the years....
It has really made me step back and think about my parenting a decade ago versus my parenting now. Some things I've consciously changed, some I have changed out of necessity, and some I won't change for any reason.
In the end, I am choosing to embrace my role. Unlike my teen and preteens who don't usually think I'm all that wise, these ladies actually listen to me. And as with being struck with a ball right on the nose, it only stung for a little while.