Older Mom, Keeping Up With the Children, by Lori j Loesch
I’m a later than sooner mom. That said, raising a family is tough, especially in this complicated world we live in. Being an older mom, is tougher. I am going through menopause, and it feels like it’s killing me. I feel like a stranger in my own body, the body I’ve had for 52 years, is now a stranger to me. My ten year old daughter, I can tell by her tone of voice, has had enough with my ‘hot flashes’.
My daughter is in the fifth grade, and from what I’ve heard, and witnessed, it’s a rough transition, from elementary school to middle school. Not only the homework load, but also the social element of growing up and growing on. She’s very intelligent and catches on quickly to new learning experiences. It’s the social aspect that I’d like to touch upon.
Faith had a special friend since kindergarten. She had many other friends as well. I have noticed the friends, disappearing as the years progress. They go their way, and that is usually by way of sports. Faith doesn’t like to play sports, and she has tried everything from ballet, soccer, gymnastics, to cheerleading. I saw the changes in her best friend, slowly through the years, yet it happened, fast, in fifth grade, her BFF, totally dumped her. No explanations. Just ignored her. After all the years of being so close, and doing so much together. Faith wanted to talk to her, but she didn’t want to embarrass her. Personally, I feel that’s what it was. Faith has never cared to comb her hair, or cared if her clothes matched, or if food slipped from her mouth, onto her shirt, it didn’t matter to Faith, and I embraced this, because my first born son is totally the opposite. His hair and clothes are perfect, all the time. She’s our free spirit. But, I don’t think her BFF, embraced our ‘free spirit’ living. ( I do have a difficult time with her hair, I bite my tongue, all the time, and resist the temptation to brush it or completely have it cut short.) My husband said just two nights ago, that I should remember Albert Einstein! Yes, genius with a bad hair day, everyday! He was too brilliant to stop and brush his hair!
We changed Faith’s school, she now attends a charter school. This, in itself, is a huge change, and at this time in her life, it is not always smooth sailing. She likes the school and the curriculum, but she hasn’t been there long enough to make a lasting friend. She’s having her difficulties with school and making new friends, and I don’t feel as though I’m available to meet her emotional needs, as much as I’d like to be. Just the other night, Faith was throwing up, I was in a hot flash, and my twenty-two year old son, came home with troubles of his own. I wanted to be there for both kids, but I realized that I couldn’t. I had to take care of myself, this time. Fortunately, their dad came to their rescue. David did a great job, helping Faith while she was getting sick, and the next day, I said to Jules that I had wanted to talk with him, that I knew he was upset, and he said, “It’s ok, dad was there and he helped.” Wow! That’s what parents are supposed to do! It was such a blessing hearing those words out of Jules’ mouth. Things have been stressed between he and his dad for a few months, now. Little Spike = Big Buck, You get the picture.
Maybe Faith’s hair is Karma coming back onto me. When I was young, I was a lot like my son, Jules, perfect from head to toe. I would have a major anxiety attack if I missed a belt loop, and someone would announce, “You missed your belt loop!” There was a girl I worked with, that had long curly, blonde, hair. She always had this, fuzzy, area at the back of her head, where the hair was always tangled. One day the other girls and I talked to her about her hair. I had the impression that she didn’t wash her hair. She did. She said she really didn’t know why her hair was fuzzy, and tangled in the back, but it was clean. My apologies. I washed my hair two times a day if I felt it needed it. Here I am today, with my beautiful, intelligent, funny daughter, with fuzzy hair! She washes it every other night, it’s clean, just not well kept. My hair is stick straight, and stringy thin, Faith’s hair is thick, lots of layers, with a bit of curl to it. We went on a Caribbean Cruise this December, and her hair was better! Not as tangled. Hummm…being the detective that I am, I concluded that, the salt water must have, had something to do with keeping hair smooth and untangled. I was right. For whatever reason, our water softener was turned off. When we came home, David turned it back on. I think the reason it was turned off, was because I do not like to add chemicals to the fish aquarium’s when I fill them. If the water softener is off, I get pure, fresh, blue light filtered, well water!
In this world today, appearance is everything. As a later mom, I am so over, looking perfect. I just don’t have the time to fuss about my hair, face, and clothes, I’m at an age where, I just don’t care if someone likes my hair and clothes or not. When you’re young, it feels like everyone is a critic. Picking apart all that you are, at least that’s how I felt. I’m glad my daughter is more than the hair on her head and the clothes on her back.
I want to tell you this little story of the day David took Faith to get her hair cut. As he was waiting in the waiting area for her to finish, a young man, twenty something, sat beside him. They got to talking. The talk turned to people that drive nice cars and dress well. David asked the young man, “You probably think I’m a bum?” I think the answer was well… David said let me tell you something, the person in the BMW, with the fancy clothes and watch, is an imposter. That person is lying to you. They have no money. They don’t own their car, clothes, or house. Now, you look at me, sitting here beside you, dressed as I am, you think I’m a bum. Let me tell you I am not a bum. I worked hard to get where I am today. He went on to say that he invested his money wisely, and doesn’t buy the latest toys, anymore. David also cautioned this young man to not judge a book by it’s cover. You may be sitting next to a multi-millionaire, and not even know it.
David grew up with “things”. His dad bought boats, snowmobiles, everything. Dad bought David a Corvette Pace Car in the 1980’s. After David totaled it, he bought him the exact same one. David grew up wanting for nothing, material. Our son, is the same. He was our lonely only, as I used to say. We never thought we’d have another child, and the economy was booming in the 1990’s, so we spoiled him. Me coming from poverty, gave into his every want. Our daughter, on the other hand, doesn’t like it when I spend money on her. She lived through the economy collapse of 2007, and listened daily to her dad saying we had to get on a budget and save money.
If I look at the big picture, I’m glad Faith isn’t concerned with material things, I do wish she’d brush her hair, but if Albert can do it, then so can she. She is not a material girl, and I’m ok with that. I just want her to know all will be ok, she can be whatever she wants to be, no barriers here. Maybe she would have more friends if she brushed her hair, and wore the latest styles, maybe. But would they be ‘real’ friends or just along for the ride?
Faith is just where she belongs, CLC Charter School. David likes to say they are old hippies that run the school, well maybe, but they know what they’re doing, and I love the teachers and students at CLC. They are a computer, project based school, and they are challenging her little, young brain! She came home this week, a bit nervous about the new project. David and I were amazed at this next endeavor, it’s all about cells and how they work. When I Googled her homework, to help her look up the words, that I have never seen, and cannot pronounce, I was flabbergasted, is she in pre-med?