Life by Tens (Decades That Is)
#1: Early childhood in Manhattan. I remember: pigeons, hero sandwiches, chain link fencing guarding the only stretches of grass I ever saw, newsstands with scary headlines in the tabloids, bomb shelter signs in our apartment lobby. Being lulled to sleep by taxi horns and sirens in the night.
#2: At age nine the fam moved to the suburbs. It took me months to dare walk on our own lawn (after my NYC indoctrination,) longer still to get used to the freedom to play in the neighborhood. Before age 19, we’d moved to Atlanta, Boston, Atlanta again. I’d attended six schools. Oh, and I’d gotten engaged. That too.
#3: I ended my teens with a wedding ring, to my delight (and, I’m sure) Steve’s parents’ dismay. Throughout my twenties, hubs and I were on the road, touring with plays for young and old, landing at last in Philly. At 24 I lost my sister Mo, saddest moment of my life. Pregnant at 26, I performed as Snow White until my third trimester (picture that. Better yet, don’t). Back on the boards when Sheridan was only two weeks old, and soon along came Evan. Busy years, featuring lots of love, and lots of spit up (not mine).
#4: The thirties were kind of a blur. I had Rose, Patrick and Julie during that span. We outgrew our ”starter” home and moved to our current house in Oreland. I joined the PTA, a playgroup, the Sunday School teaching staff, and a babysitting co-op. So much joining!! At some point my hair began to go gray, and I decided that was unacceptable (though, in retrospect, totally understandable).
#5: Fabulous Forties? Nope! The kids were growing up too fast, I was adrift career-wise, and menopause loomed. At 45, I began working full time at church and officially stopped acting. Mom, who wasn’t doing well, moved in with us, and the older three kids started college and left home. While it made sense to be a bit sad, my gloom was way over the top—as, it turned out, was my mania. Bipolar diagnosis at 48 rocked my world, but the incredible support of my crew got me through.
#6: Half-century mark was reached in 2006. I dutifully took my meds and my mental health improved. Church job went well, and I began write books, and sell essays to magazines. Having never written that much before, I felt a bit like Grandma Moses with this late-in-life creative pursuit, but I truly loved (and love) it. Much joy with graduations, a wedding, the addition of Ya-Jhu and two fabulous grandbabies to my life.
#7: Three years in. Trips to Europe (a lifelong dream), and at long last starting to relax about money a bit. The knees are beginning to go, but the rest of me is holding together (for now). The rest of this paragraph has yet to be written. And you know what? I’m fine with that.
Bring on the surprises, life! But not too many!