- Am about to be a Granny?
- Have a son who is soon going to be 32?
- That my daughter lives across the world?
- That my baby is at university?
- That I am living here in the middle of England?
- That I have a sister living in Switzerland?
- That my friends IRL are spread around the globe?
- That I am a widow?
- That the days of my youth and childhood are so clear in my mind?
- That things which seemed impossible back then are common place now?
- That communication is at the speed of light?
- That I am 54?
There are times, you know, then things suddenly seem to stand still, and you see in crystal clarity where you are right now, and then the awe comes, as you look around your life right now and think..... how can it be?
It seems just yesterday that I was a child, playing barefoot in the garden, with a big bow in my hair. Just yesterday that I was a student standing on the steps of a cathedral about to be baton charged by police. Just yesterday that I walked down the aisle dressed in a beautiful wedding dress with a long train behind it. Just yesterday that I drove myself to the hospital to have that very first child of mine. Just yesterday that my friend Linds and I said a tearful farewell at the airport when she flew off to a new life in NZ. Just yesterday that I walked into this house and wondered what on earth Geoff had got us into. Just yesterday that David fell down the steps with Diana. Just yesterday I watched all 3 of my children finish their schooling. Just yesterday that my Dad died.
So many memories all stuffed into the nooks and crannies of my brain. Some infinitely precious, some hysterically funny, some which fill me with pride, some which were certainly learning experiences, for want of a more suitable word or two. Some heartbreaking ones in there too.
How can it be that I have forgotten so many things? How can it be that I am standing at the dawn of a new era in my own life? How many dawns do we get? Does anyone know the answer? Of course not. Granny-hood is something I am about to embrace with great delight, loads of enthusiasm and oodles of love. But my memories of being a new mother are so clear in my mind....so how can that little baby be about to become a father?
I look in the mirror, (and today was probably not the best day to do this, seeing that I have failed to straighten my hair and it is OUT.OF.CONTROL.) and this stranger looks back at me. A woman who has lines in the corner of her eyes, and rather appalling dark shadows underneath them. A woman who is certainly not in the full flush of youth any longer. A woman who has more grey in her hair right now than highlights. A woman who looks every one of those 54 years. A woman who has experienced most of what life can toss at her. Pain, joy, sadness, happiness, love, rejection, accomplishment, failure, peace and turmoil. Just your average woman.
But in my mind, I see that 20 something or 30 something year old. Full of dreams. Some....a great many, in fact, of the dreams have been accomplished, and some have been discarded, leaving space for new ones to grow.
It is easy at times, to just look at the present and often, to despair, but then in those moments of crystal clarity I talked of at the beginning, it is like seeing all that is, all that has been and all that is still to be, and then the question comes. How can it be? So many things. So many emotions. So many memories. They only come like this when you are older, you see. Sometimes it feels as if your heart cannot cope with any more joy or pain, and yet, still its capacity grows. And sometimes you feel as though you cannot find any more places to tuck away all those memories in your brain either. Full up. Limit exceeded. But you do. Of course you do.
I am so lucky. My brain chooses to discard the bad parts, generally, and remember only the good parts. The lessons learned are engraved on my heart, but the memories are allowed to fade. And new dreams replace the old, and new goals are set to focus on once again.
It is at times like these that I have to acknowledge that there has been some infinitely divine plan working throughout my life. Or else how can it be that the little girl running through the sprinkler in the garden back in Cape Town in 1958 is the same woman who is sitting at her computer in the centre of England writing this today? Soon to be a Granny?
Every one of those grey hairs was earned, believe me. The memories come at a price. Living the past 54 years has been a roller coaster, without doubt. But the term roller coaster is very apt, because the down times have been offset by the soaring heights throughout the years.
So that face, the one in the mirror, is the reflection not of conventional beauty. Oh no. That never was and never will be. (It has taken 54 years to admit that, people.) It is the face of a woman who is turning in the circle of her memories, asking in a whisper....How can it be? Why me? Why here? Why now? How have I been so blessed? How can so many years have passed? How can this heart grow any bigger? Where can I store all the new memories?
And the One whose plan it was, just grins, I suspect, and thinks....wait till you see what I have in store for you next.......