It’s never a good sign when things start falling before ten in the morning. The new umbrella fell over and broke the porch lamp, then Larry cut his finger on a broken water glass that fell off the table, and the plastic owl my mother gave us as a housewarming gift, fell off its perch, landing in the lake. At least that was retrievable.
For the record, I didn’t want to write about any of this, even as my unfaithful fingers seemed to gravitate to the keyboard. I resisted, flipping on the Property Brothers, gorging on sliced cheddar and Triscuits, followed by a cold swig of Sauvignon Blanc. I’m all about distraction, but signs are signs, and they only get louder if you ignore them.
Do you ever ask yourself what does ‘this thing’ mean? I thought so. And by ‘this thing’ I mean who the hell came up with all these natural laws? Natural laws that nobody breaks, like gravity, electromagnetism, and children who grow into adults without permission?
It’s a total design flaw, oh how I rallied against it, but nevertheless Her plan prevailed. God’s ability to compromise is negligible, it’s borderline abusive, and She has absolutely no remorse. I didn’t call on her for weeks.
One by one my pimple faced kids packed up their rooms, thanked me for filling the tank, and drove away. I was abandoned like the unmatched socks, stained t-shirts, and worn tennis shoes left in the back of the closet.
I stumbled around trying to find my way in this uncomplicated world. What the hell do I do now? Who am I? What do I like to eat? I had not only televisions to myself, but entire rooms, and spaces of time that felt eternal. If this seems like a good thing, it’s not.
I thought I might be losing my mind but it was my motivation that went missing. As you know my navigational skills are inadequate, directionless is pretty descriptive of this particular passage, but so is miserable, and manic.
Pity parties seemed the responsible thing to do, there were regulars who showed up with wine, wisdom, and tissues. I found out after a good snivel my children were still gone?
My world was without form or shape, darkness prevailed, and a mighty silence swept through the house. I needed a new cosmology, one that wasn’t dominated by a fruitful contagion, something more nuanced, fermented, aged. I went in search of a new firmament or means of support.
Are you with me?
I tried everything, I went back to school, I got a job (where I could play with other peoples children), I even started a blog for goodness sakes. I made reservations for dinner, joined a few wine clubs, we even bought a lake house, hoping it would attract my bestrewn children.
Like Jacob and Rachel, my tribe has scattered, although some of them cycled back for brief durations, they continued to put distance between our homes. I started plugging in their coordinates on my weather app so I knew what time it was in Australia, the temperature in Boston, the chance of precipitation in Willow Glen, and if there was rain in the forecast for Fresno.
We took up traveling, dropping into their lives for quality time, getting to know them again, and all those painful good-byes only meant our time together was well spent. They are happy, thriving, living out their dreams. Screw the lengthy distance, if they’re happy, I’m happy, it’s only space (big little lies).
This is when the tsunami hit, I found myself sweating in the middle of winter, couldn’t sleep for more than a two hour stretch, or decide on a particular mood, and never mind the unwarranted belly fat. My hair, skin, muscles, and bones staged a coup and I didn’t know how to deal with it. I took walks, ate kale, drank lots of water. It didn’t help.
“Oh no, honey. Lots of women go through it early. Why, there was this woman over in Georgia who was only thirty-six-years-old and one day she got in her car and drove right up the stairs to the county courthouse, rolled down her window, and tossed her husband’s head that she had just chopped off in her kitchen at a State policeman and hollered, “Here! This is what you wanted,” and drove right back down the courthouse stairs. Now that’s what an early menopause will do for you if you’re not careful,” notes Fannie Flagg.
Larry started hiding the kitchen knives?
I think it noteworthy that aging female whales also experience a hormone imbalance during their twilight years? The interesting thing is whales become leaders in their pods, whereas humans go on hormone replacement, and start searching the yellow pages for a good therapist? We have an odd response to aging in our society, tackle the symptoms, hide the evidence. It’s as if we’re disposable after fifty?
But wait, in the middle of all this menopausal unrest, I stumbled on a theory! The most prevalent premise behind menopause is called the grandmother hypothesis. In short, it suggests females may stop breeding to help their children and grandchildren survive and reproduce. Do you understand the implications here? I didn’t either.
Full disclosure, just when I thought it would never end, Larry started putting the knives back on the counter, and let me just say the ease of living without fluctuating hormones is pretty damn marvelous. Guess what, there are thirty days in the month, darkness is a blessing, and my body temp is back to normal. I still hate kale.
In a world where my value was based on the productivity of my womb no wonder I had a meltdown when my ovaries died? While the chasm opened up that divide in my garden, and all my perky parts began to fall, I became a mother again.
Yes, it’s true. With the birth of my daughter’s daughters, I’m no longer a detriment to the ecosystem, like reusable containers I’ve been repurposed, restored, and revitalized.
Maybe it wasn’t a design flaw after all? Gravity keeps us grounded, electromagnetism provides the needed attraction, and children grow up and have children! I can’t say it enough, motherhood the second time around is pretty damn sweet, nothing falls out of your honeypot, and no stretch marks.
Happy Mother’s Day All!
I’m Living in the Gap, drop by anytime, you can help me organize my tupperware.
- “I’m what is known as perimenopausal. “Peri”, some of you may know, is a Latin prefix meaning ‘SHUT YOUR FLIPPIN’ PIE HOLE”.” Celia Rivenbark
- “The first indication of menopause is a broken thermostat. It’s either that or your weight. In any case, if you don’t do something, you could be dead by August.” Dorothea Benton Frank
- “The goal is to get your estrogen where it should be so you don’t have to hang out in social support groups that do nothing but chew the cud on how miserable they are without estrogen.” Marie Hoäg