Jim shares part one:
I want to live long enough to see my son go through his forties. At the moment he is 23, ten feet tall, and bullet proof. He’s athletic, trim, and in every bit the condition I was in at his age. He can work and play nonstop and does not require sleep. He’s quick on his feet and graceful. Before it starts to sound like I’m seeking a new girlfriend for him; let me explain: I want vengeance.
The score must be settled for every eye roll and look of dismay he’s given me for doing outrageous things like getting ready for bed at 10:30pm. I must watch as he experiences the gradual decline aging brings. I look forward to his need for glasses, his inexplicable fatigue and the bewilderment of how his back can possibly ache so much and so often. I have warned him but he does not listen. Like most young men, he hates to read so I have no fear of the mysteries that might be revealed to him in this blog.
I want to heckle him when he turns 30 and discovers that a quick trip to McDonald’s results in even quicker trips to the men’s room. I want to chuckle when he discovers heart burn, indigestion, and that it’s just not worth it to eat deep fried anything anymore.
I’m looking forward to grandchildren. I can’t wait to spot the blood shot, “I haven’t slept in three days” look he’ll have before my wife insists that we give the poor kid a break. Later, I plan on buying a complete drum set for each of my grandchildren along with an extra set of cymbals just because.
I can’t wait for him to marvel that no matter how many baseballs, basketballs, and footballs he throws, that his son will be disappointed when he stops after a mere three hours. He’s gonna be a great dad. I just can’t wait for him to ask me how I ever did it.
There are plenty of milestones I won’t hear about but I’ll know that just like the rest of us; he’ll hit them. He will know the joy of discovering gray hairs on his head, in his beard, and ultimately in places to delicate to mention. He’ll come to wonder how hair started growing in his nose, ears, and wonder, “What the hell is happening that my eye brows resemble Andy Rooney’s?”
He’ll miss the convenience of being able to do everything a man needs to do with a toilet from a seated position (the joys of enlarging prostates are many). He’ll find himself concerned that sleeping through the night is no longer possible and later he’ll learn that waking up to pee is something one gets to do twice a night.
Not only have I experienced the pure delight of my body’s decline; as an added bonus, I have enjoyed sharing my wife’s sentiments regarding the joys of being a woman in her late 40’s. She has regaled me countless times as to why hysterectomies should be elective surgery that is covered by health insurance. I dutifully agree that if men experienced menopause that this would already be the case.
We’ve talked endlessly about the risks to women of a certain age engaging in the reckless acts of sneezing or laughing a bit too hard. Bladder control is one of our favorite subjects. She’s shared her feelings about the effects of gravity over time and how I shall never understand the intense relief of removing a bra at the end of a long day.
I am especially grateful that my wife and I have both the ability and the willingness to laugh about the changes that being middle aged brings. We miss being able to read small print, being able to hear each other from the next room, and being able to remember why we ventured into said room. We console ourselves that wisdom and experience are good substitutes for energy and smaller pant sizes.
Brigitte and I find ourselves half way between the ages of our adult children and our retirement aged parents. I have a vivid memory of going out to dinner last summer. At the end of the evening, my son and his girlfriend stood to our left and my in laws to our right. On one side of us was yesterday and on the other we saw tomorrow. Today might feel rough at times but tomorrow we move toward twilight so we’re going to enjoy every minute and hope you do the same.
Karen Foley will share her take on relating to our middle aged bodies in two weeks.