I Am An Old, Old Mommy

I started my family when I was 21, but I looked younger.

People marveled at how young I looked when I had my 3rd child at 26.

When I was 31, being spotted in public with my 5 children was like being spotted by the paparazzi.

Or so I told myself.

“Are these all yours?”
”You don’t look old enough to have five kids!”
”You look wonderful for having 5 kids!”
”You look like one of the kids.”

It was some kind of amazing for a little while.

When I had my 6th child at 38, there were no more comments about my age.

There were looks.

You know the looks.

People are wondering about your life, wanting the story, but are too polite to ask, so they just stare.

I could hear the little gerbil wheels in their minds. Was she mine?  Was she one of the teenage daughters’?  Why would I want so many kids?  Didn’t I know what caused it?

When hubby and I would go out in public and take all the kids, people would stand in the parking lot and watch kids pour out of the Suburban.

You could see their heads nod and their lips move.

I actually was impressed so many people could count to six. 

People let me know how thankful it was ME and not THEM.  I was thankful it was not them, either.  I wanted this child.

The hands that held her were just a bit more wrinkly, but my touch had so much love.

The legs that shuffled to her crib in the middle of the night were a bit more creaky, but eagerly went to the precious child we’d prayed into our lives.

It seems my age confused more than just strangers, it even confused little Rebekah.

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(Don’t let this picture fool you.  I’m pretty sure I combed her hair once in awhile.)

She was very observant of all the people around her and in her 3 year old frankness would stare until caught. We quietly told her not to stare, or would gently turn her gaze away with our fingertips. One day she was enthralled with a beautiful toddler girl and an equally beautiful young mother strolling by us in the grocery store.

“Look Mommy, she’s with her big sister,” she said, pointing to the little girl who was only about a year younger than herself.

“No, honey, that’s her Mommy,” I replied.

Rebekah was confused and looked from the other mom’s face to my own several times before protesting again.

“No, it’s her sister,” she insisted.

I laughed that Rebekah comprehended her 18 year old sister, Jana, was closer in age to the young mom than I was. Rebekah had been taken on many exciting excursions with her older sister, but always came home to an older mommy. She didn’t understand that some children have young mommies and some have young sisters.

I  explained  I used to be a young mommy and looked like that other Mommy when Jana, Daniel and Bethany were little kids. But,  I kept having kids and kept getting older. Now, I was her Mommy, but was an older Mommy. I finished loading the rest of my groceries onto the conveyor belt, while I enjoyed the sensation of being able to fill a toddler’s precious mind with my words of wisdom and unravel life’s great mysteries for her.

That other mommy might be prettier.  She might be younger. But, like wine and cheese, I was aged to the perfection granted only to older mommies.  I was wise. I was experienced.  I could answer any question a toddler could throw at me.

Or so I told myself.

Light chuckles from a man proved I had an amused audience ahead of me. His laughter  punctuated Rebekah’s final I’m-gunna-win-this-conversation-statement.

"OK, Mommy, but I know it’s her sister."

 

Making your home sing Mondays

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29 Responses to I Am An Old, Old Mommy

  1. Tandis February 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    Hilarious! Kids say the craziest things at just the perfect moment. Aaaah!!!

    I get those same comments and questions. I was one month into 21 when Mia was born. Now I’m 28 with 4 little kids. I can totally relate to everything you went through….well, until you had 5 kids…. or turned 29…. 🙂

    I do find it so sad when the comments come, “Better you than me.” or, in front of their child(ren) “I can barely handle what I have!” or, the mom last week at swimming with her ONE daughter, “ONE is enough!” While the little girl looked (longingly, in my eyes) at M&M who are so close in age and best friends. This little girl was lonely but her Mother could barely handle her and didn’t mind saying so right in front of her. So sad that kids are inconvienances to so many.

    • Mindy February 8, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      I’ve heard moms say similar things, especially about homeschooling. I don’t mind if moms don’t feel called to homeschool, but please don’t say outloud it is because you can’t stand to be around your kids and you hate summer vacation!

      The offensive comments didn’t really bother me, though, because I loved my life and I loved having lotsa’ little ones around!

      • Tandis February 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

        I don’t mind so much about the offensive comments either except when their own children can hear. Poor kids.
        My calendar practically revolves around summer. It’s AWESOME!!

  2. Deborah February 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    Precious~!! Loved it. My boys got the young mummy, the girls are getting the old mummy. :o)

    • Mindy February 9, 2013 at 4:50 am #

      But don’t you love that each “mommy” was different for a different time and a different purpose? If I had been this kinda’ mommy at the beginning, it wouldn’t have been good. 🙂

  3. Dana Kolste February 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    When I was about 14, I was wheeling my two littlest sisters around Walmart while my Mom shopped. A sweet elderly lady approached us, did a double take and then managed to speak these words: “YOU HAVE TWO???” I was appalled and quickly assured her that they were my sisters. Ever since then I have been able to laugh at most of the things people say to me regarding the number of kids I have – why let it bug me, right? At least I am with my kids, not parking them at a daycare center somewhere.

    It is a comforting thought that God gave us each child at the time that HE thought we needed it – young or not quite so young.

    • Mindy February 9, 2013 at 4:51 am #

      Dana, you are SO right! I remember Ilona Jordison talking about this years ago, not only the timing of each child, but the purpose of each child according to circumstances and their character. I’ve always cherished her wisdom.

  4. wholeheartedhome February 8, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Oh! This is just TOOOO funny!! I was 39 when I had my son (now 18) and I would be asked if I had a kindergarten class with me. My oldest son was 11 and did not exactly appreciate that!! It is a special blessing to have children when we are a bit older as it puts off the empty nest just a tad longer.

    • Mindy February 9, 2013 at 4:52 am #

      Yes, I had the daycare question a lot, too. I think people were not only shocked that I had so many, but that I WANTED so many. I wanted six kids since I was 11 or 12. I call my full house an answer to a young girl’s desire.

  5. jeannegrantwebb February 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    Gorgeous. Sadly, I was already an old mummy when I had my only. That just makes my love and appreciate her all the more.

    • Mindy February 9, 2013 at 4:54 am #

      I’ve heard that from several that had their first about the same time I had my last. We cherish that same thought, we have someone to grow old with. I call Beka my “company in my old age.”

  6. Christine February 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Oh how I can relate, Mindy!
    When I was 24, I had 2-yo Joshua with me while I was vacuuming the halls of the apartment complex we managed at the time. An elderly tenant tut-tutted under her breath as she was carrying some groceries to her apartment. She accepted my offer of assistance, then commented that I wouldn’t have to work so hard if I hadn’t started a family at such a young age. I asked how old she thought I was, and she said “Not a day over 16.” That was the first time I knew that people were subtracting several years off of me.
    When I had Lucy, the older kids were 15 to 9, and I was 37. When she was just 2 weeks old, we went to a home-school conference. It was 15-yo Joshua’s responsibility to care for her while I shopped for curricula. Well, anyone can tell you that babies are chick-magnets, and Joshua rather enjoyed the whole crowd of teenage girls around him. That lasted until we were leaving. At the entrance, one of the conference coordinators asked Joshua if he or his wife would mind completing a comment card! He did NOT appreciate that, and I had to work so hard not to laugh out loud! 😉
    At the age of 14, Tara had a similar experience. I was 43 and so used to working home-school conferences for Bethlehem Books that I didn’t stop even for a 5-day-old baby. Tara was completely enamored with her new baby sister and offered to care for Ella and almost-6-yo Lucy. On two different occasions, she had the two girls in the hotel guest bathroom, changing Ella’s diaper, when she was congratulated on her two beautiful children and told how wonderful she looked for having just had a baby! Needless to say, the real mother did not look “wonderful” at all! Creaky and crinkly are much more apropos descriptors, and Ella has also experienced some confusion over “big sisters” versus “young mommies.”
    Now, as my older kids are 27 to 20, and I am knocking on the door of the big 5-0, I still do not have grandchildren (sigh). But, I do still have a 6th-grader and a Kindergartener in my house and love the fact that I am not an empty nester while some of my younger sisters are. I get mistaken on an almost daily basis for being somewhere in my 30’s, usually 33-35. While certain challenges do arise from having 15 years routinely subtracted from my age, I can honestly say that I have yet to be mistaken for the girls’ grandma! 🙂

    • Mindy February 9, 2013 at 4:57 am #

      I loved hearing your stories! We haven’t lived near each other for decades, so was fun to hear some of these things.

      Yep, you make me jealous, you don’t age much. Your mom doesn’t either. Pretty sure at your 25th anniversary party, I had more wrinkles than your mom. Probably from squinting in the mirror to count my wrinkles and gray hair each morning.

      Thanks for visiting my blog!

  7. Andi February 9, 2013 at 2:45 am #

    Great story! I was wondering why you were so old to still have kids at home!

    I kid! I jest!

    Thanks for the chuckle!

    • Mindy February 9, 2013 at 4:59 am #

      I know, right? The plan was to have them all in a row, then they leave all in a row. I didn’t plan on a huge gap and a change in MY plans. But the Lord’s plans are always better, right? After we get used to the adjustment….

  8. Ruby February 9, 2013 at 3:43 am #

    I get some funny looks when I have a couple of the grand children in my trolley. 🙂 I didn’t feel old when I had my fifth at 36 but now that he is a teenage I feel ancient!

    • Mindy February 9, 2013 at 5:01 am #

      Sometimes I feel young. Then I look in a mirror or a store window as I’m walking by and I am SURPRISED at the old woman staring back at me. 🙂 Life went so quickly. One day we’re bringing our kids around, the next day grandkids…

  9. francisguenette February 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    Mindy – I have a question that has to do with Live Writer – I started using it and love it but I had something happen to my blog (wondered if it was connected – but now see it has also happened to yours, so think it might be). I use the widget for top posts and before I used Live Writer I had all these nice little thumbnail photos associated with each post – all different. Now it is just my picture running down the page over and over and not looking that great. I notice it is the same for you. What do you think? Any ideas about a connection here? Sorry to query on an issue unrelated to the above post. Cute pics here for sure.

    • Mindy February 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

      I am SO glad you mentioned that! It wasn’t that way before. You are right, I used to have pics of previous posts. Who wants to see a picture of yourself all the way down your blog?

      SO, I switched over to WordPress and then shortly after switched over to LiveWriter, so I know it didn’t do this the whole time. Lemme look into it. If I can figure out something I’ll let you know. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!!!!!!!

      • francisguenette February 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

        I’ve now seen this on another person’s blog as well – I’m thinking this is a WordPress issue and I will send along a message to their help people and for now I’ll be switching that widget to the no image option

        • Mindy February 9, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

          Great! Will be nice to get some answers, it is not the look I want on my blog. 🙂

  10. Jackie February 9, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    LOL. Oh, you should see the looks when my kids and I get out of Stacie’s van, full of her kids, too, that is 8 kids total. If her husband happens to be along, I know they are all thinking he has sister wives, LOL 🙂

    Thanks for entering my giveaway. Good luck! Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

    • Mindy February 10, 2013 at 1:31 am #

      Oh, yes, going out with another big family is an adventure. A close friend had 5 kids and we spent a lot of time together. You had to carefully choose restaurants that could accomodate large famiies. 🙂

  11. momstheword2008 February 10, 2013 at 4:40 am #

    Hahaha, this was awesome! We didn’t have our children until we were in our 30’s due to infertility problems on my part. I used to feel bad because I felt like my kids had an “old” mom (even though it wasn’t my fault, lol)

    But once I thought it through, I realized how blessed we were to have not had them until our 30’s. I was able to quit work to stay home with my kids, which I am so thankful for the ability to have done that. I couldn’t have done that in my 20’s. I was able to homeschool them as well and I wouldn’t have been able to do that either.

    Plus, we are in our 50’s and both our boys are still at home which means our nest isn’t empty yet, lol! Of course, the oldest just graduated college last spring and is probably only going to be living here for just this year, while he pays off his college debt. We really wanted him to be out of debt and encouraged him to move back home once he graduated and moved back to our state.

    The youngest is in college and will eventually transfer to an out of state college probably, which means our nest will be empty in another year or two. Sigh. Oh well, it will be a new season of life and I can see some benefits from that as well!

  12. rejoyful February 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    Loved your story!! Your stories like this are so heart warming and real!! They always make me smile!!

  13. Denise Hisey February 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Out of the mouths of babes….

  14. reocochran March 19, 2013 at 1:33 am #

    I enjoyed this story and congratulate you on being freshly pressed! Awesome news! Glad to see the humor and the frankness in your stories.

  15. Koala Bear Writer April 2, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Aw, beautiful! My best friend was fifteen when her youngest sister was born, so I know another beautiful “old” mommy – and the fun that my friend and her sister had with each other. I always wanted more siblings myself (I had two brothers), so your children are blessed to have each other. 🙂 Thanks for linking up to the Write Mama blog hop. I love your blog header and background. 🙂

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