I guess since I thought we were having Groundhog Day around here (where none of my children were getting older), I thought that concept applied to me as well. How I woke up one day and was 48, I’ll never know. I never can really remember how old I am. When I turned 47, I thought I was turning 48. So imagine my joy when I found out I was a year younger than I thought I was. And no joke, one day last year I texted my son asking him how old I was. He replied, “Is this a trick question?” To which I replied, “NO! I am at an appointment and they are asking me my age and I cannot think clearly enough to figure that out, Mr. Sassy Pants.”
He later asked me how I got through college (again, Mr. Sassy Pants). And, I can say emphatically that at the age of 48, the wheels are coming off.
I went to my doctor about a month ago because I was convinced that I was being ushered into a new stage of life or that I was going crazy (ok, this is where the male subscribers to this blog can go get some coffee if they want). It was my doctor’s job to pick which one it was. After all, I was paying her, wasn’t I?
My hair comes out in clumps like a sheep being sheared when I brush it (guess that means I should stop brushing it). I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday. I get crankier than normal (“normal” being the operative word here). I am tired a good portion of the time. And I’ve got a few pesky pounds that have snuck up out of nowhere (maybe it’s because sometimes I eat two lunches because I can’t remember eating the first one?)
So, I make an appointment with the doctor and bring my pathetic little list of ailments on a piece of paper to discuss with her…because Lord knows I would forget to tell her what was wrong with me if I hadn’t brought that list.
She saunters in the exam room and rolls her chair right up to me. She actually invaded my personal space a tad. Remember, I’m crankier than normal. She looks at me and says, “What brings you in here today?”
Cue the crying. I have NO IDEA what made me start crying. I start mumbling “I don’t know what’s wrong with me…blah..blah..blah..sob..sob..sob..I’m tired all the time, I can’t remember a darned thing and I’ve gained a few pounds I can’t get off. I am falling apart.”
She turned around to get my chart (I think she really just turned around to try and wipe the smile off her face and get a good eye roll out of her system) and turned back around with a set look on her face.
I was hoping she was going to look at my chart and say, “Yes, sweet pathetic one, I know exactly what to do to help you.” Instead, and I’m not joking, she said, “You’re just getting old.” SAY WHAT??
For someone who had to text her son to ask how old she was, it isn’t surprising that my confidence wasn’t at an all time high as I interact with people who are obviously smarter than me. I sheepishly said, “Maybe my B12 is low and I need to take more of it and my thyroid is off?” She said something along the lines of: “We don’t believe in vitamin supplements other than vitamin D and I am sure your thyroid is fine. Sorry, but you are just getting old.”
For a split second I wanted to pick that little nugget up and slam her against the wall and say, “THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME AND YOU HAVE TO FIX IT!!!” But instead, I just crumpled up my pathetic little list of ailments and with slumped shoulders, I defeatedly said, “Yes, ma’am.” She was gracious enough to put in an order for my blood work to be tested that included vitamin D, B12 and thyroid and a host of other things.
I thought to myself, “When she gets those results and sees I am massively deficient in those areas, THEN she’ll be able to help me…” I’ll have my redemption. Fast forward 10 days when I got my blood work back…
It. Was. Perfectly. Fine. I am not obviously deficient in anything. Hmpfff.
Of course, the doctor was right. She asked me if anything major was going on in my life and I told her we had just moved our oldest child to college. She told me that sending a child off to college (especially your first child, simply because you have never done it before) can cause an enormous amount of emotional stress. So that is what’s wrong with me??
All of my annoying ailments are due to STRESS? I’m going to say what every grown woman has said at one time or another…whether begrudgingly or not: My mom was right. “Julie, stress can do a number on you,” she would say and still says. “You wouldn’t believe the things it can do to your body.” Well, now I guess I can believe it!
As always, this whole little exercise in futility got me thinking. While I am growing older, how am I doing in the ‘growing up’ department? How am I handling change? How am I handling not-so-fun situations?
It’s super convicting when I realize my children are watching and noticing how I (and their dad) handle difficult things. So many times, I feel like I’m not showing stress to the outside world, but those who really know me (and hopefully love me in spite of myself!) can see it in me from a mile away.
Maybe that’s why my girls kept asking if I was ok as we were moving Jack into his dorm room…maybe that’s why Jack always gives me an extra look and an extra hug before he goes back to Baylor when he’s been home. Maybe that’s why my mom can detect a change in my voice when we are on the phone. Maybe that’s why my husband does the dishes (ha).
I am working to be someone who can change gears easily, embrace the future and not be intimidated by the “what if’s” of tomorrow. The enemy of our souls wants us to park ourselves in the “what if’s” of life, which can totally suck the joy out of what God has for us today.
After all, Wayne and I have two more children to launch into the real world – that process will be done in four very short years. And I want to look at that as an exciting time – not something to dread. My prayer is that I don’t allow the stress of it to put me back in the doctor’s office demanding answers.
My dad (the king of analogies) said to me when I was younger: “Julie, life is a lot like water skiing. When the bumps come, and they will, just bend your knees, stay flexible and you won’t fall. If you lock your legs, you will fall every time.” He probably didn’t realize what he told me really stuck with me.
I’m a much more peaceful person when I stay flexible (and prayerful) as the bumps come in life…when I lock my legs and tense up, I fall every time. Maybe when Caroline goes off to college in less than two years, I’ll so have my act together that I won’t be losing any more hair, I’ll remember how old I am and I’ll keep those pesky pounds at bay.
Maybe, just maybe, next time I won’t need blood work done to prove I really am ok.