And so it begins. The next generation has begun to marry and make babies. My daughter called me the other day to announce that her best friend from home is engaged. She said it with such wonder and happiness, which I also felt. But underneath, I felt something else. Something like veiled dread. I knew it was coming, but until it happens it is just a story you’ve heard so many times it can’t be real. The kids are really all grown up. Now some of them are beginning to make life commitments and plan the future with a significant other. Yes,I know- I did it, why shouldn’t they? Those who know me well know that I married at the age of eighteen, a source of amazement to me now that I am a reflective “mature” woman (HATE that term, but that is what I am called. Also, “middle-aged” although that would mean living to 100; and “older” which is what someone says that is too polite to just say “old”. Next stop: elderly). But this feels different. It’s one thing when you do something; a complete other thing when it’s your kids. When that same daughter graduated with her master’s degree this past Spring, my first thought (other than bursting pride) was how can I be old enough to have a woman with a master’s degree as a daughter?? I don’t feel that old. I certainly often don’t act that old. At least that is what my friends tell me. I take that as a compliment. Now the kids are getting engaged, planning weddings…all of which often leads to having babies. Someone is getting old…
My other daughter (her twin) is a bridesmaid for her college friend’s wedding, which is coming up soon. She has been sharing with me all that goes into being a modern bridesmaid. I feel a bit sorry for her. What used to be easy, fun, and cheap now mimicks the movie Bridesmaids in a “life imitates art” sort of way. If you want a peek at what my daughter is going through, see that movie; it’s actually very funny. If you’re not my daughter. Also, apparently, the show Bridezilla is dead-on. The point is, my daughters are in weddings, for their friends. That’s huge.
The other set of twin girls in the family, a few years older than my two, have made the leap. One married this Spring and the other will be doing so in September. These are now amazing young women, but I remember plopping one of my babies on each of their tiny laps for photos as if it were yesterday. The time warp is a more than a bit scary. (See my post The Kids are Alright for more on time warps.)
There was a year, 1986 in fact, that we attended the weddings of five close friends and relatives in a matter of three months. In five different states. Friends in Tucson and Las Vegas, my brother-in-law in Iowa, college friends in Massachusetts at 8 p.m. on a Saturday followed by a noon wedding for a cousin the next day in New York City. That last was a truly interesting weekend. The Mass. wedding was an Irish Catholic riot that lasted all night; followed by an 8 a.m. flight to New York for an Orthodox Jewish wedding that began with an open bar before the ceremony, inside the synagogue. These people all know how to have a good time! So, we went through a few years where weddings were the driving social events (as opposed to keggers and boonies…) That’s how it went for us, that is how it went for our parents’ generation (perhaps minus the keggers, but then again, perhaps not) and that is exactly how it’s going for this next generation of grown-ups. So why do I feel a bit shocked about it??
Having been a teacher for almost thirty years means that my first students are now turning thirty-eight years old. Once again, until you see it in action, this is just a number, albeit a pretty big one! Last January, I reconnected with one of my first students (she found me on Facebook, and I am so very very glad she did). She now has a daughter that is older than she was when she was in my class! This is a perfect example of the time warp…Until we met up last year, she was, in my head, still the tiny third grader with the huge, warm smile and a hunger for good books. Now she is a fantastic mom herself of a beautiful, smart young lady with a huge warm, smile (and, I hope, a hunger for good books).
This is life; this is the life cycle; this is how it goes. I know all that. I read the magazines. I hear my mother say she doesn’t understand where seventy-five years went. And now it’s my turn. Or rather, it’s their turn to take over- because they are creating the next generation. Good luck, kids!!