This Friday, August 28, my mom celebrates her 60th birthday. In honor of her milestone, I'm handing this week's post over to her. She's a much nicer person than I am, so please be kind in your comments.
Mom, meet my HuffPo audience. HuffPo audience, meet my mom. Take it away, Mommy!
When my children were small, other parents would complain about the behavior of their children at various ages. I would say to them, rather arrogantly it seems looking back, "Enjoy each stage of your child's life, because you will never have this moment again." I like to think that's how I have lived my life, enjoying every moment. This year I turn 60, the same year my first grandchild, the Juban Princeling, celebrates his first birthday. And my youngest child, Mr. Funny, turns 30. People keep asking me how it feels to be the "Big 6-0." I'm not sure how to answer that question. Yes, it is a milestone, but it is also another stage of my life. I intend to enter my seventh decade on this earth with the same optimism and love of life I have always embraced.
As a "Boomer" I have seen so many technological changes -- more so than any other generation before me, although less so than my children's generation have seen and will see. I have watched as television grew from a small box with a black and white screen, to big screen, to digital flat screen. Telephones have gone from having "party lines," which required sharing the line with one or more of your neighbors, to cordless private lines, to cell phones. Public pay phones? Dinosaurs. Have you seen one lately? Computers have gone from the size of an entire room for commercial use only, to desktop, to laptop. And pretty much everyone has at least one computer in their home. The internet has gone from a way to communicate by e-mail to a portal where you can find out pretty much anything you need to know in seconds. And, you can "chat" with people through the computer. Who would have thought?
I witnessed the struggle for rights for blacks, women and gays. I watched women burn their bras - symbolic, yes, but really for some of us, kind of pointless and dumb. I also know that, in spite of the long way women have come, we still earn less in most jobs than men doing the same work. For the most part, it is still the mother who is expected to take time off work for the sick child. For the most part, it is still the mother who is expected to choose between career and raising their children. However, that"s not always automatically the case anymore, and that is a good thing.
Another question people ask is how it feels to be a grandmother. Really?? I guess it is not a given that every woman embraces grandmotherhood. For me it is a complete blessing. I love the Juban Princeling so much that it is a physical presence for me. Sadly, I live 1304.7 miles away from my grandson. (I Mapquested it for accuracy - another great advance!) Happily, it is only a three hour plane trip to visit him in person. Happily, the existence of the Web Cam makes it easy to see him "live" as often as possible between visits. I don't want to be the hip, glamorous grandmother. Nor do I wish to be the rocking chair granny with a bun in her hair who knits all day long. I just want to be "Grandma." And what do I wish for my relationship with the Princeling? Just that he love me with a fraction of the intensity that I love him - and that the love never ends. That he always feels a connection with me that cannot be broken.
I have no intention of telling my daughter and son-in-law how to raise their son. My husband and I have observed that they are doing a wonderful job all on their own. And clearly, he loves them the best and the most. I am ecstatic that they involve me in their son's life. Believe me, I have heard stories, and that is not necessarily a given either.
So, here I am, on the threshold of my 60th birthday and a first time Grandmother, and I love all of it. The 60s were a great time for me in my youth, and now the 60s will be a great time for this stage of my life. Bring on the 60s!