Back before I had kids, I taught Spanish at Kidron Elementary. Over the years of being a mom with babies or toddlers, I would occasionally run into former students. It was strange to see the little first graders grow into middle schoolers and then before I knew it, they were graduating. When my oldest and I saw a former student recently, I bemoaned to my daughter, “I’m getting so old!”
“No, Mom,” she replied matter-of-factly. “It means you were young when you taught them.”
I loved her perspective!
Now, my oldest baby is almost a freshman. This will be a new stage for her but also for us as parents, for me as a mom.
Seasons in life often come faster than we expect them to. I was blessed to stay home during her first 14 years. During that time, people would tell me: “They grow so fast!” I felt like I was there to watch it all slowly unfold, and in retrospect, it was fast. But, believe me, there were some long and slow times.
Stages in life. Becoming the mom of a high schooler is one of them. What stage are you entering? Maybe you are bringing a baby home for the first time, or are sending your kindergartener to school.
Perhaps your oldest is going to college this fall; or you’re a new grandparent; or your first grandchild is getting married; or you’re moving out of the homeplace; or you’re getting a walker. Getting older, step by step, day by day. A new gray hair, a new wrinkle, joints that move a little differently than they used to.
This past December, a movie sequel came out called “Jumanji: The Next Level.” It’s rated PG-13 for adventure action, suggestive content and some language. Danny DeVito plays an old grandpa who’s just had hip surgery. At the beginning of the movie, he tells his college-age grandson “Getting old sucks.” Then, he and a friend, played by Danny Glover, along with some 20-year-old kids, get trapped in a video game as old men, but in young bodies. At the end of the movie, after all they’ve been through and when they are back to reality, the grandpa talks to his grandson again about getting older.
This time, he says: “Getting old is a gift.”
Each new stage, if viewed in the right perspective, can be seen as a gift. Like DeVito says as Grandpa Eddie in the movie: “Don’t let anyone tell ya any differently.”
Jacqui L. Hershberger is a DKGN news correspondent, mother of three, and writes from Sugar Creek Township in Wayne County.