My Children Are a Work of ART by Marina Paleos


Sometimes, life leads us down paths we never expected to travel.

At 46, I was more than okay with being single and not having a family. Well, just when you think you’ve figured things out, life throws you a curve ball. I met my future husband at 47, married at 48, a first marriage for both of us. We instinctively knew we wanted to try for a family. Curve ball #2. My husband and I became caregivers for my mom who we were slowly losing to dementia.  We moved from NY to NJ so we could be closer to my sister and found a mother-daughter home  so mom could live with us. We kept parenthood on the back burner. I think that many people have a false sense of insurance because of advances in reproductive medicine. We were those people too. We almost missed our chance at the greatest, life changing event you can imagine.

At 52, I practically fell into the care of one of the top fertility doctors in NJ, someone we would have never worked with had we not moved here from NY. My first son was born when I was 54 (if he had arrived 4 days earlier I could have said 53 – he still has that kind of sense of humor).  I will never forget the words of mom’s nurse, with whom I also became friends, on my first day home from the hospital. “Marina,  now you need to try for a second child. Your Georgie needs a brother or sister.”  That was the day I started to measure my life in decades. Where would I be in 10, 20, 30 years?  How old would our Georgie be?  My friend was right.  Our George needed a sibling. Our second baby boy, Konstantine, arrived 22 months later,  when I was 55.  Both my children are a work of ART (assisted reproductive techniques), and a miracle.  There is so much more about motherhood later in life that I could share. Everything you once felt secure in – friendships, career, changes. Everything.  The way the world relates to you changes. And yet, nothing lost or changed,  could ever compare to  this journey called motherhood.

My husband and I currently live in Central Jersey. In our late fifties, our lives primarily revolve around doing all we can for our two little boys. Ironically, I’m considering retirement after a 38 year career, to raise our toddlers. I’m looking forward to my new career,  as a stay at home mom. For now, keeping up with school events, PTO fundraisers, parent – teacher meetings, the logistics of getting the boys to two different schools, is keeping us quite busy.

My two babies started school this year – preschool and kindergarten. Once again, in adulthood no less, I look forward to no school weekends – our time. When my little ones are in school I wonder whether they’re making friends, what they’re learning, if they’re happy, if they’re bored, and did they notice mama packed their favorite foods and snacks in their superhero lunchboxes? My 3 yo takes a little yellow school bus that picks him up in front of our home. I found out he made a friend, a little girl who sits next to him and holds his hand on the bus. In my first parent/teacher conference, I discovered they have side by side cubbies, and she helps him with his coat at the end of the day. Last Friday, as he got off the bus, he waved to the bus and said “Bye Bus, Bye Friend!” Watching him run towards me with his “Hi Mama,” I was glad it was the weekend. For the next two days he was my baby again.  We could laugh and play and dance and sing and giggle.

I worry more about my 5 year old,  my brilliant little boy who missed the kindergarten deadline by  16 days. He wasn’t making friends and would come home and exclaim that he was bored. He didn’t fit in at his pre-K,  being the size of a seven year old and having a keen intellect.  My heart ached. I contemplated home schooling but knew that socialization is as important as academics. My protective mommy genes wanted to hold him and tell him he could stay home with mama and baba, but I knew that was not what he needed.  We found another school, the Montessori Family School, and spoke to a lovely educator with 40 years experience. She decided to place him in kindergarten, on her own. I was so happy, you would think he was accepted into Harvard Law. His first day, in his school uniform, I cried. My little boy looked like a little man, leaving his dinosaurs and robots at home to go and learn geography, reading, writing, mathematics, and science. I hope he makes lots of friends and is not bored.

Their well being, educational, and social development are our “mission statement.”  If we were a corporation, our Policy and Procedures  manual would only have one guideline – Love them with all your heart and all your soul.  Love.

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  1. 5 Responses to “My Children Are a Work of ART by Marina Paleos”

  2. An extraordinarily well written article about later in life motherhood. Marina Paleos shared the journey of her marriage and the decision she and her husband made when she was in her early 50s to have a family. Her first son was born when she was 54 and her second son was born 22 months later.
    Ms. Paleos shared many personal details about her journey to motherhood and her writing is extremely authentic.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this piece and am looking forward to reading much more by Marina Paleos.

    By Vivian Anemoyanis on May 14, 2019

  3. What a beautiful story! I am so thrilled for Marina and her THREE guys. Great insight. May God bless her and her amazing family!

    By Jeanie arnitsis on May 14, 2019

  4. What a masterpiece of love you all are!!

    By Margaret Cullen on May 16, 2019

  5. This is the most beautiful love story. I truly hope to read more articles from Marina!

    By Suze Borrego on May 16, 2019

  6. Such a great story and beautifully written. I had my son just days before my 55th birthday, so I very much relate.

    By Debbie Oberlander on May 30, 2019