Birthdays Come and Go by Michele Talamo (a Later Mom)
My daughter and I are turning 5 and 45 this year! Birthdays come around for everyone all the time, right?! For me as an older mom, it has so much more meaning. As my daughter ages and reaches milestones, so do I! It’s a time that makes me stop and think. It makes me think of where we are and where we will be. I try to keep it positive, I try to keep my thoughts flowing to only good things, but I do feel sad at times. I feel sad to think that when she is 30, I will already be 70! Having a child older in life was not necessarily a choice; it was one brought upon me. Having met my husband in my mid 30’s, and then having issues getting pregnant, I was almost 40 when she was born.
As I started to write this, I came across an article “Trading Complaining for Praise,” and it stopped me in my tracks. It may sound like I am complaining about having a child later in life, but I am really just reflecting on time and how it does change dynamics. I immediately realized the importance of turning my thoughts to that of praise for what I have. I could not be more thankful or blessed to have my daughter, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking about things I may (will?) miss out on when she is an adult. They are not thoughts I wallow in, just passing ones as situations present themselves. I cry more easily at events like graduations or weddings yet I cherish each step deeper than I may have when I was younger. It’s natural to take things for granted, but being an older mom has taught me to stop and value each moment and each experience with my daughter. Nothing is guaranteed for any of us, certainly time is not. I should not get caught up in how many years separate me and my daughter, but at times I do. I am not concerned with being able to keep up with her energy or comparing myself to the younger moms, but I do pay attention to taking better care of myself. I want to be around to see her older years and share in all the joys and ups and downs they may bring.
I am probably a different kind of mother than I would have been if I had a child in my 20’s. I feel like I am more present and available to her now than I would have been 20 or so years ago. Who knows what I would have been like as a younger mom? I only know the present, and it really is “a present, a gift”to have my little one in my life. I also know that being an older mom lends itself to being more financially stable, enabling me and my husband to probably offer more to our child than we could have as younger parents. I also believe that I am more emotionally grounded, better enabling me to handle the challenges being a parent brings. I have learned about strengths I never knew I had and fears I did not know existed, but I persevere through it all knowing the ultimate goal is to raise my beautiful daughter.
After I wiped my tears, yes literally wipe them because I did cry the morning of her 5th birthday, I stopped and gave thanks for another year for this girl. I look forward to what the year ahead brings us, turning 5 and 45!
Michele is a 44 year old mother to Lucia age 4.5. She was born and raised in the Bronx and lives in Yonkers with her husband Philip and daughter. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, holding a Master’s Degree from Fordham University. She has been in practice for 18 years and has worked in the healthcare field and most recently with the severely mentally ill. She also holds a Law Degree from Pace University. She is in the process of starting a private practice in Lower Westchester with the focus on Infertility Counseling. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.