Today I spent a day at home with my youngest. The other boys were off to school as usual, but Levi and I were part of the functional closure and found ourselves at home. Levi being the organized chap that he is, had us up on time, breakfast wolfed down as if we had somewhere to be in a jiffy, and the laptop was brought to me and plunked in my lap. Now that I’m working again, he has learned that if he doesn’t want to lose mom to her schoolwork, he must be assertive in grabbing my attention.
By Levi Standards
Mrs. Richmond had done a stellar job of updating the class page and Levi easily found the list of activities he needed to do. We rounded a few numbers, read about God’s covenant with His people, virtually toured the Legislative building in Victoria, and read a chapter of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I was feeling pretty good.
That is until he pulled out the PE activity. We had to spell our names and each letter had an activity that went with it. I was keeping up fairly well, flapping my “wings” 25 times, hopping like a frog 8 times, until I got to the bear walk. Being the no nonsense, follow the directions, get-it-done kind of guy that he is, I had to do it to Levi standards. “Straighten out your back. Don’t bend those knees. No cheating!” He was like a drill sergeant, and I was the out of shape, clumsy recruit who needed to be whipped into shape. It was just another reminder of my youth slipping away and the aches and pains that come with aging (and I’ll concede, a lack of time and prioritizing my exercise routine).
The Wake-Up Call
I tend to sort people into categories:
- Roughly my age.
- Probably younger than me.
- Definitely older than me.
But I’m realizing that my system is not at all reliable. I ran into a lady the other day at the medical lab. She was chatting it up as she was drawing my blood. She was a sweet middle-aged lady with quite a bit of graying hair, and I was enjoying her conversation until she confided in me that she had peeked at my info and discovered we were the same age. She babbled on but my brain had come to a shocked standstill. “Same age?! You mean, I look like that?” She was a lovely lady and looked great for her age, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that her age was my age. What I think I look like might not necessarily be what other people see. My mind still places me somewhere in the decade gone by, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one drinking that Kool-Aid.
There are plenty of wake-up calls to keep me from falling too far into delusion. My younger boys bring me the bottle of Tylenol, take a picture with my phone, and then enlarge it for me so I can read the dosage they’ll need. Steve and I sit on the couch in the evening and simultaneously groan as we stand up to drag our tired selves off to bed. My older sons roll their eyes at us when we ask Siri a question only to take a screen shot instead.
Ankle Braces And Spectacles
There are still reasons to hope and to keep me feeling young yet. My 10-year-old still climbs onto my lap for a story at night. My student tells me I look so pretty today (His mom must buy the same brand of Kool-Aid as me).
My other consolation is that I’m not doing it alone. Steve is just as delusional as I am. This past Father’s Day he decided to take on his children in a game of soccer and though in his mind he was 20 years old, lightning fast, and fit as a fiddle, reality hit hard when he spent the next two months on crutches. Three and a half months later, Steve is still wearing an ankle brace every day. I’m still getting used to coming upon him when he’s working at his computer, with his “old man spectacles” perched on the end of his nose. Though it does elevate his barn clothes and afford him a certain level of sophistication. I guess if I’m going to grow old, there’s no one I’d rather do it with.
Though yesterday when we were sitting our tired selves down on the couch at the end of the day, I did begin to wonder whether he might be winning the aging race. After a day of being on his feet, he was complaining about how unusually sore his ankle was today, only to look down and realize he’d been wearing his brace on the wrong foot all day.