We recently went to Orlando to visit our grandson, Aiden, to celebrate his 7th birthday. I was struck by the similarities in our lives.
Aiden has just crossed the threshold from Kindergarten to First Grade. I have just turned 60. We are both entering a new time in our lives.
In Kindergarten they introduced reading. First grade brings about major time and effort spent on reading full sentences – a requirement by the end of the school year. It feels like a monumental task to Aiden who finds words a challenge but has an aptitude for numbers (something I do not have). He needs a desk in his room because with first grade comes homework. Now that he is older, he has some maintenance that he needs to remember to do for himself rather than have his parents do or remind him to do. Chores like bathing, teeth brushing, making his bed, feeding the dog and cat. He doesn’t mind doing them and he tries hard to remember but it does cut into his playtime.
Likewise, I have entered a time in my life of many changes and there are things going on that really put a damper on my “playtime” as well. My body is wearing earlier than I imagined it would. My body obviously did not get the memo that 60 is the new 50 for its acting as if its 80! The maintenance on this body has increased by at least 40%. While I no longer need to shave my legs, renegade hairs grow in all the wrong places requiring a daily inspection and removal. And that requires magnifying mirrors and bifocal glasses and I still miss some errant hairs. There are moisturizers for dry skin, hair thickeners and potions for thinning hair, age defying products to cover up the wrinkles and age spots, and a plethora of other regimens that require instructions and a calendar to remind me to do. And we won’t discuss the vitamins and medicines that are prescribed to keep me going, glowing and healthy!
Yes, it really cuts into my fun.
Or has it?
You see, all this came to me at 2 am while sitting in “the loo” of our hotel room at the Marriott on the eve of Aiden’s birthday. I ended up spending more time than I had planned mainly because my hips have deteriorated to a point where I need to use a toilet that sits a bit higher. While I could sit down on the toilet with ease, getting up was difficult. Maybe it was the 3 hour trip in the car or the 4 hours getting in and out of a car that same day looking at homes for sale, but my hips were clearly shouting –“Hell, no! We won’t go!”
Well, this was a heck of a position I was in, wasn’t it? As I strategized on how to lift myself up I started to giggle. I could wake up my blissfully sleeping husband, but why should we both be sleepless in Orlando? I could lean back and just wait until Thad woke up to answer his call of nature. However, with my luck, I would fall asleep, slide off the toilet seat and onto the floor. I did not need any further damage. I assessed my surroundings, considered my options and grabbing onto the paper holder (praying it would hold) and the side of the tub, rocked back and forth and launched myself into a standing position. Mission accomplished!
Life is a series of thresholds. Change is inevitable whether you are 7 or 60. Aiden and I are in parallel universes, each crossing a threshold. It requires adjustment – a Handicap accessible hotel room comes to mind followed closely by a hip replacement. Both of us will stretch and grow gracefully and sometimes not so gracefully, accepting the new, the scary, and the exciting life we have. And we will need to find the humor in the absurdity and the positions that we find ourselves in.
There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt. – Erma Bombeck
If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it. – Erma Bombeck