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Reflections July 2013

Agelessly Yours

Long Johns under Swimsuits and Sundresses

By Karen White-Walker

"You hardly have any wrinkles, " I'm always being told, but obviously they're not referring to my hanging neck, aging hands, and underarms that remind you that crepe paper makes wonderful decorations for birthday parties that keep on coming – thank God!

 

With so much emphasis today on youth and beauty, where does that leave those of us who are reluctantly saying goodbye to the autumn of our lives and hello to, you know, the final season?

Winter has never been my favorite, but take my husband (compliments of his wife) – he thrives when everything is so darn difficult and challenging. "It separates the warriors from the wimps," he insists, and there I am vying for the soft spots to avoid all the slips and slides. But guess what? You can't escape them all, so you just hang onto your ebbing stability and pep, and pray to remain upright, if your equilibrium doesn't let you down.

Remember the springtime and how through our playpen slats we were so curious about what lay beyond the bars? The lucky ones, who during their later years still retain their awe and vigor, must admit that the wonder is tempered after dealing with tribulations that can leave them feeling like they've been clobbered over the head by a two-by-four. Some it seems, look like they've barely been tickled by a feather, but maybe it's their distorted perception stemming from their own low resiliency level and their inability to apply coping skills for what happens to them in life.

In my generation parents made most of the decisions and their constant police watch surrounded us like a protective cocoon.

And I am my parents' daughter.

"Let your kids speak for themselves," my pediatrician warned me years ago when I jumped right in there and answered the questions that were meant for them. "They must learn independence if they're going to be worth even the spit in our society," he crudely went on. "Parents can't make emotional cripples out of their children."

"Are you saying I'm a neurotic, over-protective parent?"

"I'm saying you're the only mother who makes me stutter!"

One of my little traitors ran back and told their father what that louse had said and you'll never believe what he did and said. He roared with laughter and said ditto! I hate “ditto” when it's not complimentary. And I certainly didn't think that was anything to even smile about.

All that activity and commotion took place in the summer of my life when my days were brimming, my nights sultry, and it was a heady feeling to be wanted, needed and worthwhile in spite of your children's doctor and his cohort – my husband.

Indian summer kept autumn at bay, and that's almost reason to believe you're still in your prime. But now winter is beckoning and I'm answering the call with cracking bones and long johns worn under swimsuits and sundresses. Golly, my skin is thinning and I'm always cold, but still I strive to look better than presentable. I'm spending enough money on facial cream to rival the national budget. It's a losing battle because there isn't any cream to alter the stance and waddle of an older woman.

"You hardly have any wrinkles, " I'm always being told, but obviously they're not referring to my hanging neck, aging hands, and underarms that remind you that crepe paper makes wonderful decorations for birthday parties that keep on coming – thank God! But there's one thing I'm lately learning about growing older. As I'm forced to say goodbye to cherished loved ones who have gone before me, there's a comfort, relief and joy within me when I think that someday we'll all be together again. Forget about looking for the silver lining – we older folks are going for the gold!

Funny, when I was younger I couldn't see beyond my own nose – now I can see almost into eternity. Now THAT'S something to smile about!

 

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