Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Middle Years

I have reached that point in life where it feels like the mid point of my existence.   I am no longer the child with someone holding my hand, fixing my food, bathing me, tending to my every need.

I am not the young girl playing hide 'n' seek in the neighborhood, climbing fences or trees, playing make believe and pretending , or day dreaming as I lay on my back looking up at the clouds as they flew across the sky.

I am no longer the teen holed up in my room playing loud music, keeping to myself and only finding friends are the ones I wish to hang out with and not my family.  I am not the teen riding my horse on long trail rides alone and in my thoughts wondering about my life and where it will go.

I am no longer 19, the age I was when I married.  On our own, fixing meals packing my Love's lunch, nesting our home, working as well as in college.   A lover, a companion.  Working together side by side on our first home with steel wool pads and paint brushes.  Carefree to do as we pleased.

I am not in my 20's giving birth to three adorable daughters, singing nursery songs, playing with dolls, pushing swings, tending to my family with a bursting heart of joy and overwhelmed at times of what I feel I do not do enough of for them.  Learning, every day learning what it means to be a mother and a wife.  Making a space for me to be alone where once again a horse comes into my days to ride, to groom.
I am not the woman of those days sleeping skin to skin curled up tightly to my Love as if he is all there is in the night to protect me, shelter me, adore me.  The breathing in and out as we lay in quiet with our hands touching each other whereas in the day mine are on our children...running my hands over their heads and through their hair, over a cheek of so soft skin, holding little hands, rocking little ones as I rub their backs cradled in my arms.

I am not the woman in my mid 30's.  Those years where my body craved another child in my womb.  The ache of not wanting to let go of that part of my womanhood.  The hope and the longing and at last the dream was fulfilled.  I was able to give fully into this child growing within me.  Rub my hands over my growing belly, feel the swimming and kicks of him.  My son that I could hardly believe I carried.  And when his day came to leave my swollen womb I cried because I knew that all this would be the last time.  All that led up to my great longing to hold him close to me, breath him in and I did.  Bliss had come.

I am not the woman of her 40's who finds her body going through the ups and downs of PMS.  The nights of sleeplessness, mood swings, weight gain from nowhere.  What does it mean when I don't know this body I have any longer?  The changes so slight yet obvious over those years of perimenopause.  Those years when the little things felt like big things, creating tension over any trial in my day.  The strain of losing Papa and attempting to sooth my mother who was bottomless with her demands.  Only my son gave me peace, only he gave me the illusion of my youth.   My Love braved my moods, he new when to let me be and when to give me his warm arms.  

Where am I now?  Menopause brings a womb silent, no longer a vessel to be filled with life.  I find this a relief and yet I want so much to do all of it over again.  In my dreams I sometimes give birth.  I can remember the feeling a a 'let down' of my breast, the tingle that comes before the release of my milk.  I can remember my children at my breast looking up at me with drowsy eyes, their fingers curl and uncurl or hold my finger in our quiet hour.  I can quiet the desire easier now.  I find myself looking at children remembering the roundness of a two year old's rosy cheeks.  The smallness of little feet and ticklish toes while I sang "This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home".   Reading a bedtime story curled up next to me tucked in their bed.  I do miss those times.   I have the urge to go up to mothers and tell them to absorb all this time with their children.  It passes all too soon, a mantra mothers past mothering say in tender voice. 

These are the days where my daughters are all grown up and away making their own lives.  They come in waves to see us and my Love and I feel that the older they become the less we see them and know them.  How can that be?  These are the days my teen son pulls back from my Love and I, not because he is mad with us but because he needs to become himself separate from us.  I miss and don't miss the teen years.  I want to still be needed.  I want to be a part of their lives.  I don' want them to come see us  because they feel they should but because there is something worthy in being with us.  I want them to understand that we cannot be exactly as we were because we aren't in some ways.  Our minds may not be as sharp, we may repeat, we may get tired more easily, we may forget.  We have much on our minds with the aging of our parents.  Life simply passes by faster with each day that greets us.  

I don't give in.  I may be in my middle years but I have much to still learn and to offer.  I may not be able to go back and be the younger version of myself but I may be the wiser more patient woman I could not be before.  It takes time, years to gain that privilege.  I am on a path of humility.  A path a woman of 50 takes is a path one doesn't wish to take alone.  I am amazed and feel so blessed that my Love and I are together after 34 years.  Our love bends and pulls to each other.  Our hands still find each other, entwined and comforted by knowing we will be here for each other through whatever comes our way. 


Dreamer said...

Ellen, I love the way you wrote made me sure touched me!
I love you!

Mel said...

I love the pictures, especially the first one. What a happy baby. Time flies, first our own lives, then our children's, and suddenly we find ourselves strangers in our own bodies, trying to make sense of it all. It is a mystery.

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing it.

Elizabeth said...

Ellen, this is so beautiful. You are still young and beautiful -- and an inspiration.

Allegra Smith said...

It is as if opening a box of memories to read this. There is a mixed fragrance of nostalgia and hopes, like a sachet that time filled petal by petal with the passing of the years. And now it rests in that room of one's own that holds everything and then some and yet stays calm and orderly, simple and accessible, comfortable as that old rocking chair where the child fell asleep at your breast and you watched life grow inside and out.

You are lovely at every age and you will continue to be so. We dream and we remember, the beauty is there because it has always been there.

Ellen said...

AnaBertha...I sure love you

Mel...Those petticoats I still can remember how they feel. Scratchy! I am trying hard to not get blue somedays when I realize I won't have a young body. Still my mind is so much better as odd as that sounds. It is a mystery.

Elizabeth...your words are so kind and it is I who find you inspiring!

Allegra....dear Allegra. Every time I read your words I wish I could get to know you better. I wish I could come and learn from you. Sunshine come to you today and circle you with a hug from me.

deb colarossi said...

okay... I'm crying.
you are so beautiful.


and I hope I never forget the letdown feeling. never.

I will stop and rest with this post .

so so happy to have "met" you.


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