Since when is it okay for God to dump on the middle of life’s sandwich like a blop of mustard? I thought it was supposed to be the good stuff. You know…turkey sliced thin, avocado and provolone.
Just when you have learned your way around the grocery store,— how to avoid the spoiled, the sour and the fattening, whamo! You are dumped upon by the seeming inevitables of children who won’t grow up and leave the nest on one side, frail and disorderly parents sapping too-thin emotional and financial resources on the other.
When thirty is the new twelve, you wiping crumbs from the last sandwich your son made before plopping back in front of his computer to ‘job search’/play video games, your nose met by the definite smell of something burning wafting from the bathroom as your mother calls “I thought this was a curling iron” in reference to the two hundred dollar ceramic hair straightener your daughter talked you into last May. You begin to wonder, why the grand cosmic joke on the forty and fifty-somethings?
Isn’t it bad enough that your eyelids are beginning to resemble pantyhose left in the drawer too long? (When did it become possible to separate them from your occipital orbit?) When you’re supposed-to-be sexy briefs curl under the menopausal roll around your middle every time you bend over to pick up the latest dog hair tumbleweed.(in spite of your treadmill routine five times a week) Your underwire no longer prevents breast seepage like lava creeping over the confines of a highway. Your rapturous red lipstick thinks the border of your mouth is now but a suggestion, it doing its best to find any fissure to crawl along to make you look like the apple doll from last autumn’s craft fair.
Oh sure. And then there’s the puppies you were talked into welping, raising and selling so your daughter could fly off to become independent at her new job.
Every corner of fabric, every stick of furniture the target of the little guy you just couldn’t part with when you sold the last of the furry darlings. L’eau de urine has become the olfactory background to your every attempt to get yet another Dr Oz approved meal on the table.
The recession has stripped your last dollar from your savings while you maintained the HMO premiums no one else under your roof could afford. Why do I have so many dependents who are supposed to be adults, you ask? Medi gap, orthodontic gap and generation gap all vie for your attention.
“I don’t want to be the sandwich filling of life,” you chant under your breath.
So what makes middle age so dang tasty?
You’re wise enough to not believe the bull of youth. Nobody is judging you because your jeans don’t have a designer label. Even if you still have acne, at least the oils are staving off the plastic surgeon’s knife.
You still have the marbles to learn the confounded new apps of your I-stuff (with a pair of reading glasses tattooed to your nose), but aren’t so young that you drop the blasted thing in the toilet once a month in the loo of the latest fad dance club you frequent—not.
Sushi is just fancy raw fish you can live without. Low rise jeans are hip huggers in disguise. (They were bloody uncomfortable in the 70′s and they still are) Blue hair dye is not in your medicine cabinet yet. (Oh, that is your mom’s bottle, whew.) You can still touch your toes without too many cracking noises.
Your daughter’s boyfriend thinks you’re a cougar without claws. (Oh, the naivety of youth)
And the pillow you’ve had since the turn of the millennium still keeps the crick out of your neck when your head finally hits it with five hours before the alarm, if you are lucky.
Sunsets are more brilliant, full moons spectacular, bacon frying gourmet, dark chocolate your biggest sin and the glistening eyes of an infant once again the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. More days behind than ahead, you have learned not only to smell the coffee, but to appreciate each and every nuance of life because you are lucky enough to live in a time and place that is unrivaled in human history for amazing advances and everyday luxuries. You are at an age that would have been considered elderly but a few generations ago and yet you get around like a thirty year old and look forward to another big chunk of life ahead.
Did I say we are dumped on? Oh yeah. Maybe there are more blessings than drawbacks. Thank, God.