Baby walked today. I brought in the little toddler-sized plastic slide from the garage for the kids. She was cruising along the couch, let go, and took three or four steps over to the slide. It was surreal. I guess I always knew she would eventually walk. I knew it was pretty close. But I'm not ready. I have a good friend who always reminds me of the different "seasons" to life. And I know a new season is around the corner. The season of little babies is ending for me. I know there will be good things in the new season, but I want to stay here longer.
I think part of this fear has to do with growing older. When I was a girl I couldn't wait to turn 13, then 16, then 18, then 20. I looked forward to it. And I certainly didn't understand why anyone would be afraid of getting older. I always said I would grow old gracefully. Easy to say when you're 22. There was a time in my life where I was the youngest person in just about every circle I was a part of. My husband is seven years older and I was the youngest one in my classes in school, so all my friends were older. I am the baby in my family. I tend to gravitate to people who are older than I. I have always been the "baby". But now I am always surprised to find there are people out there younger than me. Uh, wait a minute. How did I suddenly end up being the thirty something mom instead of the cute, little twenty something chick? When did that happen??!!
So why am I afraid of getting older? It's not because I am necessarily afraid of death, although I'm not exactly fond of the idea. I am more afraid of being alone. My father-in-law is in his eighties. He now lives in an assisted living apartment. Most everyone he has ever known has died. His children are grown and gone on to lives of their own. I don't want to be in that place. I want to stay here with small children forever. My husband would adamantly disagree. I think he looks forward to us having our own lives again one day. But, what is my life when my kids are gone? Who am I outside the realm of motherhood? Perhaps that is the scariest question of all, because I'm not sure I know the answer. I've only been a mother for 6 years and I'm already consumed.
So, I'm having an identity crisis all because Baby took her first steps. Let's hope she never learns to speak. That will really send me over the edge. Good grief.