I've got my burgundy microfleece draped across my lap and tucked in behind my knees. My slippers are on over my favorite orange knee highs and I'm slowly blowing on and sipping my half-caff.
Straight leaded caffeine has become too much for me. Keeps me up and all jiggly legged along with a bit of SOB palpitations (I can be an SOB as it is but this time it begins in my lungs) has got me at 'think I'll do half caff.'
So far, less octane is working. I don't feel so edgy and prone to tears over the slightest kindness.
Anyway, one morning last week as I ripped open that day's mail--because it's come to that: I look forward to daily mail and talking about the weather. I look forward to the daily mail now, especially our community newsletter. Unfolding the month's events, I licked the tip of my fine-point Sharpie, just like my mother used to do, and I began to circle, circle, circle, and then double-circle all my plans for the coming month.
Grinning and congratulating myself on how I was not going to miss a can't miss event again, I soon envisioned myself and gave in to misty-eyed gasps.
Though my plans for the next 30 days were a thing of beauty of not missing anything, I'll tell you, but what I saw in that moment before me amid my mug of half-caff and alongside my Sharpie were the circles of my life. These events that I am counting down the days to only reflect what I've suspected since I first had a sense of self:
That I was born a senior citizen with an AARP card in the back pocket of my diaper fold.
Gathering to compare measured rainfall for the month.
Bird sighting notes meeting.
Donuts in church hall.
CHECK CHECK CHECK.
Annual marsh walk at the nature center.
OMG DOUBLE CHECK
Ancient activities for what I thought was a modern woman.
Yes, the calendar staring back at me was a masterpiece, but it was also the essence of 89-year-olds. My daily to-do list was filled with dessert tidbits, but it might as well have been called "How to Stay Active as an Octogenerian."
All the years of not knowing what to do with me, my poor mother, I remember how she would pull me out to the dance floor at family weddings, telling me I was young, I had to learn how to have a good time, how to make hay while the sun was shining, when I was perfectly thrilled to sit and chuckle at the youngsters and their new dance steps while I stirred my cake frosting into my more white than dark coffee and watched the sugar melt away in swirls.
That poor woman. What she needed then was The Parent's Guide to the Tao of Ancient Children.
I can't be the only one born 89, so someone please, for the love of all the confused parents that my mother must have been, someone get on that book.
Raising Your Ancient Children.
Could there be a more earnest undertaking?
Detach yourself from the seeming successes
and failures of your children
By doing so you become able
to be one with them at all times
You do not live your life
through your children
Therefore they are free
to find their own true fulfillment. *
Even if it is at the annual hot cider and tree sap gathering.
Bus leaves the senior center at 9 on Tuesday.
*William Martin The Parent's Tao Te Ching