Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Like Fine Wine by Elizabeth Allen

No matter how it came about, you are an older parent. Regardless of whether the decision to wait was physical, emotional or occupational, here we are. And now that we’re here, generally speaking, most people expect we are more mature. That our decisions are well thought out and we excel at time management and prioritizing. Heck, younger parents and parents-to-be come to us for advice. We must be better parents because we approach each decision with poise, experience, and a business-like attitude.


Okay, maybe some of us are just that organized and well thought out. A chosen few have the skills, patience and necessary deafness to carefully plan out the week ahead: business meetings, school lunches, after-school practice, balance the budget, night out with the girls (which is often reduced to the girl since their schedules overwhelm) and if lucky—very lucky—sex with your spouse or significant other while still fairly conscious and willing.

I can’t say that older is better when it comes to parenting as a rule. Unlike red wine, there is no guarantee parents get better with age. As you can see from my previous post or if you’re brave enough to read my books, being older certainly didn’t make my parents wise, loving or stable. But then, they were always like that. Even before they had children.

In fact, I’ve noticed during my vast years of observation that most people don’t really mellow with age. Quite the opposite. Most habits, mannerisms, idiosyncrasies and general attitudes actually seem to exaggerate over time. Just imagine. That little snorting sort of laugh of his that you barely tolerate will morph into a blustering guffaw in years to come. Don’t believe me? Ask your parents or grandparents.

And it ain’t just the giggles or political views…Can we talk nose hair? But I digress.

So, does the age of the parent really make a difference with respect to maturity? I say no. Not really. Details and circumstances aside, whatever sort of parent you would’ve been at 25, so you will be at 40. You might scream “I said NO!” a little louder and with less fortitude. You might get winded sooner pushing your little one on the two-wheeler the first few times. You might even stress about being too old a grandparent some day. (Aren’t grandparents supposed to be old?)

But you are probably more head-over-heels in love with your children than you could have ever imagined. I believe that older parents view their kids as more of committed relationship and less of a chore. And it’s that level of mature love—that realization that can only come with time—that makes it just a bit better.

Now if we could just do something about these freaking chin hairs…

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