The other night I was sitting on the couch with our almost 12 year old son. We were having a deep discussion about death and heaven. As we talked, he did something that he does almost every single day. He traced the veins on my right hand with his fingers. Now, I do need to say that I have very soft and smooth hands. They are not wrinkled at all, but the veins pooch out a little. For some reason, he likes to trace these things like they are the highway. He told me once that my hands show that I am getting older and I took exception to that, reminding him that they were not wrinkled.  “Yes, but look what I can do with them” (he meant the veins) and of course, he was right.

A few months ago when he was taking the sex education class at school, he told me that his teacher said that women who no longer get their periods are now considered seniors. I said that is certainly not true, that women can be a variety of ages (with or without their periods) and still not be considered a senior citizen. He and I went back and forth on this, and finally I said “tell your teacher that when I can get the senior discount at the movie theatre, then I will call myself a senior. Until then, I am paying full price.”

Living with people that are younger than you has double the effect…at some point you feel younger and at other times, you feel like an old goat.  A few years ago I told the children that I feel like I am 38 and when my birthday comes around, I am  truly surprised by my actual age. So now our boy always refers to me as 38, no matter what. But there are times when I start to see the reality of the aging process, when I have to explain who the Beatles are. When I talk about my childhood, it now sounds like I lived in a log cabin, chopped my own wood and walked three miles to school each day. My past sounds like a historical textbook. I feel like I am sometimes a living example of a piece of history in a museum, because it just sounds so OLD.

I recently told the story of getting a transistor radio for my tenth birthday. I described its size, how the dial worked, and that it had an ear piece. I shared how exciting this was, how hip and with it I was and so very proud of this “new thing”. It was so small that I could listen to music as I walked around the neighborhood. I tried to compare this radio to what they now have with iPods and cell phones, and I sounded like I was really old woman with no teeth and barely any hair, sitting on a porch, spitting out tobacco and saying “I can remember when I first used a microwave. We were told to turn it on and then run around the corner, so we would not be exposed to the harmful death rays. Now those were the days!”

The good news is that the children do not seem completely bored with me. I can now say “stop me if I have said this before” and if they like the story, they let me repeat it. They say it is even better the second time. But back to my hands….when his fingers are on my hands, we are close enough to have a moment. We are confessing, questioning and sharing our thoughts and he traces over and over the blue veins. It is a very soothing feeling, for both of us. I cannot complain and will never ask him to stop. I would be a fool to do that. I am not a fool OR a senior, yet.

Recommended viewing: I just saw a documentary on DVD that will really make you think. BAG IT is about our use of plastic, and especially the plastic bags we use every day. It really does make you stop and look at what you do in your own home.

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  • Carol  On June 27, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I’m in total agreement with you… I’m now considered a senior citizen, getting the discounts and all that. But I don’t feel like I am. I’m trying to fight it all the way, staying healthy and active (I did say “trying”). Those moments with your son are priceless. You’re making wonderful memories for him. Keep it up. Have a great day.

  • Jean Langley  On June 28, 2013 at 2:36 am

    There’s a professor who compiles a list every year of what this year’s graduating class were never exposed to because they were born too recently. It shocks me every time.
    Since you always tell a good story, you must be doubly fascinating talking about things from the dark ages. Better than fiction!

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