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A real blow to me as a “Lady of a Certain Age,” is how independent my children are and how they have their own lives – lives that do not always – seldom – sometimes – include their 66-year-old mother!

What is an old lady to do?  It seems that I was not so concerned with my adult children when I was working full time; but, now, as mostly a retired person, I think of them a lot. (They are in their 40s and have babes of their own.)

I remember after my third child was about 4-years-old, I did not know what to do with myself then either.  So, I thought I should just have another baby!  Well, my husband didn’t agree; so, I just have three children. (I did within a year or so start working, part-time.   That work experience was part of the foundation that led to a pretty substantial career.)

So, summertime is here.  For the first time in over 58 years, I have this lovely time stretching out before me.  I remember the joy of the last day of school.  I remember dreaming of riding my bicycle and eating popsicles and playing jacks with my best friend, Karen, who lived next door. And, “by golly,” maybe I’ll do just that.  Anyone out there for a game of jacks?

Last fall I took a class called “Challenges for Women Over 60,” taught by Elinor Greenberg, Ed. D., a well-known teacher and feminist.  (Ellie celebrated her 80th birthday during one of our classes. Please see the resource section for the book she used in class.)  Much of what Ellie talked about confirmed what I saw in one of my role models, Mary, my mother-in-law, who remained my friend after my divorce from her son until her death at 99! Her children lived far away from her small town.  (She was a widow for a good 20 years or so. “Quit dying my hair after Pa died, and never baked another loaf of bread,” she proudly told me.)

One of the tips Ellie talked about, and I saw Mary do over and over again, is to “just say yes!” whenever anyone asked you to do something.  (even if you don’t want to do it.)  This has helped me a lot.  I have learned so much and have had such great times.  For example, recently, a very dear friend of many years asked me if I wanted to see the play, “Sense and Sensibilities.”  Well, in my heart I was ambivalent; but, I said “yes” anyway.  I had a grand time and laughed and laughed.

Another tip was to cultivate younger friends.  Mary had lots of younger friends.  Many were my age.  They did lots of things together, including going out drinking and gambling.  Mary had a blast.  Well, I’m not into drinking and gambling much (both of my grandfathers were alcoholics and gamblers); but, I had a young friend (younger than my children) invite me to her birthday party recently and I had a wonderful time.  I have another young friend who has the cutest 2-year-old.  I took this little girl to story hour at the library and she and I loved it!

Well, don’t know how to wrap this up.  But, I am reading the book, “Far From the Tree,” by Andrew Solomon.  A sentence or two in the first couple of pages really knocked me over.  I would like to share them with you.

“Insofar as our children resemble us, they are our most precious admirers, and insofar as they differ, they can be our most vehement distracters. From the beginning, we tempt them into imitation of us and long for what may be life’s most profound compliment: their choosing to live according to our system of values.  Though many of us take pride in how different we are from our parents, we are endlessly sad at how different our children are from us.”