Stumbling Through Midlife Without The Right Shoes by Melissa Swedoski

Lately I’ve been pondering this conundrum of midlife parenting, because not only do I have two toddler girls just beginning their journey, but I have a 72-year-old father who just started a new job. Just goes to show that whatever you think is going to happen, never happens quite that way.

It’s a strange state of being…on the one hand, I’m edging closer to midlife status. Heck, this could be midlife for all I know. And so I have the little creaks and groans of older bones, but I still feel like a ridiculous teenager on the inside. And she still wants chocolate. A lot. Every day. At inappropriate times.

On the flip side, I’m married to a 30 year old man and have an almost 3 year old and a 19 month old. Being old is not an option here. The energy required is frequently beyond my comprehension, and the excitement level that has to be sustained over a new Mega Bloks creation – is frequently hard to do. I’ve seen humongous designs already. I can’t get that excited anymore.

But you do, because you see the wonder in your child’s eyes or you hear it in their voice. The amazing journey of discovery that we are all on together is utterly fascinating to me. All the things I never truly understood before – like how hard it really is to walk a straight line. It’s damn hard, it turns out. There is an unbelievable number of obstacles lying on the ground and/or the floor just waiting to trip you up or send you head-first onto the ground.

I should know this better, considering what a complete klutz I am most of the time. I even got a concussion once when I slipped on ice, falling backward and nailing my skull on the concrete. What a surreal few hours that was. But I digress…

So this conundrum that I find myself in makes it difficult for me to find total comfort anywhere, quite honestly. I love my husband dearly and recognize the tremendous change that knowing him has wrought in me and the journey of my life, but at 43 and 30, there are still gaps in our experiences. Things that I can’t talk about with him for fear of judgment. Probably foolish fear, all things considered, but still there nonetheless.

There are things I’d love to discuss with my best girlfriends, but we are all flung to the four winds these days, so busy with our own lives and trying to carve a career or make a name for ourselves before our retirement years come. Although with the state of the economy, retirement might be a big dream.

I’d love to talk with my mother, but that opportunity slipped away from me over 3 years ago when she died. I’m certainly not alone in this boat, but it still seems odd that she’s not around. She’s in my head every day; why can’t she just pick up the phone and talk to me? Give me some advice? Babysit the kids? Grief is a strange thing and it so easily twists reality and our perceptions of it.

Where am I going with all this? Nowhere special. More an expression of confusion on this Midlife Boulevard. Wondering which way to go down this road, or to perhaps lay a new one. I fear that I may never find the peace I am seeking, and yet I will continue to seek it. Even if I’m not wearing the right shoes.

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