I have so much to tell you about this Summer. About my art show and all the people who came. It was not unlike attending my own funeral (in the nicest way). People drove in from far out-of-town. Friends and neighbors and acquaintances all poured from the woodwork in support of my nutty midlife crisis. It was beyond lovely.
And I ought to spend 5 paragraphs at least thanking Dave who not only told everyone he met for the last 6 months about his crazy-wife-the-artist-and-here’s-her-business-card. But then he listened to me fret about the vulnerability of showcasing my pieces. “What if they laugh at me?” What if no one comes?” He never once rolled his eyes. And then he showed up the day of the show and helped to set up so that I wouldn’t have to get hot and sweaty and “ruin my hairdo”. He showed up that day and all the days before. I suppose that’s marriage. Showing up.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this stage of my life. I’m newly forty, happily married with two kids who like me most of the time. I think people in my particular life phase can get complacent because things are pretty easy. The kids can shower and dress themselves. Heck, they even empty the dishwasher and put away their clothes most days. But I’m hearing rumblings from fellow parents with kids a bit older than mine (William is 10) that things are about to get hard. And then, to reinforce this message, I hear a program on NPR that says that the most stressful time in most people’s lives is the period where they’re parenting teenagers. It’s the time period where couples most often get divorced. (What?!)
I imagine it’s like the adorable, fluffy puppy you’ve grown to love suddenly starts biting you. Except with kids, a shock collar is not an option.
I’ll admit, I’m terrified. Not “worried”, not “concerned” – terrified about what’s to come. I did not navigate my teen years with anything resembling grace. How can I possibly guide someone else?
So, I did what I always do in these situations: I bought 3 books. The first “Parenting Your Adolescent” arrived today. Hopefully, it will be full of comforting answers.
Meanwhile, Paige (who just turned 6 but has the maturity of most 30 year olds), leaned over during lunch WITH MY INLAWS last Sunday and politely said “Momma, I know babies are spawned after people get married, but how does the baby get in there? And how does it get out?”. First of all: SPAWNED? Has she been watching alien movies or something? Also, OMG WE’RE IN A RESTAURANT WITH YOUR GRANDPARENTS. I said “you know what babe? It’s kind of a long story, let me tell you after lunch”, AND SHE FORGOT to ask me after lunch. Praise Jesus and all the wise men.
So I’ve ordered ANOTHER BOOK about sex and babies and how to talk to someone who is 6 years old about these things. Please bow your head with me and pray that it arrives before Paige remembers to ask me about it again. I know to “speak in plain words” and “don’t give elaborate information”. Beyond that, I’m clueless.
These are the things I worry about lately. Not turning 40 and getting wrinkles and suddenly not being able to see (although, DUDE, I suddenly cannot SEE… pass the reading glasses!), no, I’m worrying about how to navigate the treacherous road of The Sex Talk with my wee first grader. And I’m worried about how to stay married to my husband while (stressfully) parenting teenagers. Even though my kids won’t be teenagers for several more years.
So there. We’re caught up on me. How are YOU?