The days of having to stay sequestered upstairs listening to the thorough trashing of the kitchen below until a coagulated breakfast in bed was triumphantly delivered sloshing in tea are long gone. No more rhyming cards composed in class, bumblebees made out of loo roll cylinders or grubby handfuls of daffs (either with bulb still attached or virtually no stem). But funnily, I don’t yearn for them; the lovely little people who bore the gifts have grown into lovely big people who do their own thing and are even better fun to spend time with when the stars align and we’re all in the same place at the same time.
It’s nice to be the age you are, in the time you’re in.
And enjoy family, friends and acquaintances of all ages. My book club of six only manages to get together sporadically but when we do one of the best things about it is that it isn’t a gathering of peers. There are sisters who are closer in age to my eldest daughter than to me, who remind us oldies of aspects of the greater narrative arc- courtship, birth, those school art projects- we’ve long filed away. The mind has readymade instagram filters for that stuff. It all looks way prettier in our heads than the way they describe it.
It goes without saying that they are privileged to have access to our infinite wisdom regarding same (ha!). They are very gracious about our clucking and fussing, and we are very grateful to be indulged never mind that surrounding yourself with younger people- if they’ll have you- is scientifically proven to keep you younger. It’s a win-win.
Or is it? Detractors might be keen to point out that on the flipside, even being exposed to vocabulary about limping and forgetfulness makes people walk slower and more absent-minded so the girls are going to rue the day. But stuff that because multi-generational socialising has way, way too much to recommend it.
A while ago, I went to a dinner party where I brought the average age down to about 75 and it was AWESOME. It’s incredibly nice to be on the receiving end of knowing smiles sometimes, not just doling them out. And if you’re trading up, there’s also the joy of being the youngest and therefore probably the most lively and glamorous at a gathering. It’s the converse of being a 9 year old who can French plait and other worldly things, at a 5 year old’s birthday party, but every bit as cool.
More importantly, when you hang out with your elders there’s a real chance you might find a few role models, those elusive North Stars whom you can plot some of your own course by- people who’ve got the balance right, who are learning, experimenting, progressing and maybe even looking well on it. People with good miles on the clock.
Friends you choose, family just is. If you are old enough not to be scrounging around for spare loo roll tubes as we speak and lucky enough to have generations above and/or beneath you, what better day to embrace the gifts each brings to the proverbial table than today? I’m not suggesting for a minute that the end goal is some creepy, nightmare Kardashian scenario where your daughters are your besties to whom you tell everything. But this is a day when you can enjoy all the generations and you won’t even have to pretend to read The Goldfinch or blowdry your hair.
Talk up, talk down. Listen up, listen down. And have the happiest of Mother’s Days ever.
Laura George @lgeorge353
Images courtesy of Getty Lean In Collection.