Writers In The Mountains
What My Mother Never Told Me by Sharon Suess
I can't remember how long ago I started finding hairs growing out of strange places. Or when it was I looked down one day and saw my mother’s knees and ankles. And I can't seem to recall when I decided that getting down on the floor was mostly not worth the effort of getting back up. I see the lumps, dips and gravitational pull of skin, and avert my eyes quickly. That can't be me. My mother never told me about what to be ready for. Never warned me of the disbelief of age. How did this happen? It wasn't that long ago that I was growing up in a safe and loving family. Now, here I am, daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother. Where did the time go? She never told me that after a certain age, it's no longer about age, but about how much time is left. She never told me how looking forward to an unknown end can be unsettling. She never told me about the big questions that will arise from the pit of my stomach: How do I want to spend the rest of my life? How will full retirement for both of us affect our marriage? Will we have to move as we age, and where would we go? Am I afraid of dying? Do I believe in an afterlife? She never said how an aging body can carry such a young person around. What she TOLD me was: No matter how old you are, you never stop worrying about your kids. Always leave a place better than you found it. Be thankful for what you've got. It probably doesn't matter in the long run so get over it. What she SHOWED me was: Keeping your mouth shut has its benefits. Kindness is always the best choice. Working hard is its own reward. Gossip is bad for you. Community service is important and fulfilling. The love of your family keeps you going. You must be a good neighbor. Give up driving before you become a danger. You can be a bit more stubborn as you age, and people will still love you. Don't be embarrassed to use a walking aid. There comes a time when Depends are inevitable. So maybe what my mother didn't tell me, she figured was best discovered on my own. Why scare the girl?
From Publishing and The Writer's Life with Anique Sara Taylor