My son turned twenty not too long ago, and my daughter is on the verge of eighteen. This means that in a matter of weeks I can count on my fingers, I won’t have (legal) children anymore.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are bigger problems to have – the adults that I have birthed are perfectly healthy and self-sufficient, I can afford to feed and educate them and buy them semi-fashionable clothing that is weather appropriate. I get that in the grand scheme of whines “oh, my babies are growing up” ranks somewhere above hangnails but far below housing and food insecurities.
I remember my mother at my age quite clearly — she was an older woman, and I had already graduated from law school and had a real grown-up job with health insurance and a pension which I am now old enough to collect. I owned a house, for crying out loud. I cannot possibly now be as old as my mother was then, because my children are much younger now than I was then – never mind that I was much older than she was when I had them.
My offspring passing on to the age of majority makes me feel extremely mortal. Against my will, I’ve turned into one of those insufferable women who no longer shows pictures of her kids to strangers, but shows pictures of her dog instead. Like anyone cares about the pumpkin costume he wore for Halloween.
There’s a conversation trajectory that, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you will follow it, skipping only the steps that don’t apply to your life. You talk about boys/girls. Then colleges. Then parties. Then jobs. Then weddings. Then babies. Then jobs again. Somewhere in there is new appliances, which somehow you get very excited about. Maybe real estate. Then teenagers, and whether or not they should all be housed on a separate island away from normal people. Then college again. Then your pets. Then your parents’ illnesses. Then your own surgeries. How undeserving your children’s significant other is of his/her love. Then your retirement. And your grandchildren. And then you die.
Because my children aren’t children anymore and the last batch of college applications are in the mail, I’ve moved on to pets/parents’ illnesses/my own surgeries. There aren’t many topics left. I’m not ready to run out of topics. I need to eke out as much as I can of the topics I have left. I may just embarrass everyone and regress, go back to talking about parties, or real estate, or new appliances. I don’t mind being that kooky old lady of whom everyone is wary because you never know what’s going to come out of her mouth next. In fact, I hope to be that kooky old lady.
In the meantime, would you like to hear about the arthritis in my index finger? Or see a picture of my dog?
I’ve got a lot left to talk about.
 Wanna see? He’s simply adorable – the breed standard pound puppy mutt, if you ask me.
 Seriously. It was cute.
 Ok, in cyberspace, but I’m old and “we’ve hit send on the college applications” didn’t sound that funny.
 Please, Bryn Mawr. Say yes.
If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori at her website, www.loriduffwrites.com, on Twitter, or on Facebook. Her newest book, a Foreword INDIES Gold Medal award winner, “If You Did What I Asked In The First Place” is currently available by clicking here.