Today, I am officially 69 years old. It's not, to me, a significant birthday. I have friends a few years younger who moaned and carried on about turning 60, which struck me as nothing. And it occurred to me today that my mother was 69 when my first child was born. She used to tell me how sad it made her to realize she would not live to see my children grown. But she lived until the oldest, Colin, was eighteen, and the youngest, Jordan, twelve--Jordan was her special baby. But I find at this birthday, even while enjoying the present--more about that in a minute--my thoughts are a year ahead, to when I turn 70. I think, for me, the significance of 69 is that it's almost 70, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. But reading the morning paper this evening I learned that India has just elected a 72-year-old as its first woman president. Seventy is the new--what? Not even fifty, maybe.
Seventy has always sounded old to me, but I am comforted by several things. My brother, now 75, says he never expected to live this long and he couldn't be more delighted--how wonderful, compared to the people who drag through "the golden years." I intend to follow that example. And Jordan chose a card for Jacob to give me that said, "You're not a 'Grandma' Grandma!" I love it! I never wanted to be that kind of a grandma. And I am comforted by a host of younger friends who proclaim disbelief that I am nearly seventy. Perhaps most of all, I am comforted by the fact that I feel better and more confident than at any other time of my life. Okay, part of that's medication, but part of it I'm sure is a life thoroughly enjoyed.
As for that seventieth birthday . . . I had begun telling some of my children that I wanted a really big party, a kind of "Look at me, world, I'm 70!" Megan called several days ago to say how sorry she was they couldn't come up and said, "Next year in Santa Fe." She claims I once said I wanted to spend my 70th b'day in Santa Fe, which wouldn't be all bad and I probably did say that, but I told her I was thinking about a party. Meg is nothing if not flexible--she called this morning and said she and her siblings had some ideas but they weren't telling me. Jamie had said about the same thing: "Your children are talking."
So what did I do for the 69th? Jordan, Jacob and I went to stay overnight with the Frisco Alters. Last night we had a wonderful dinner--Jamie did steaks and corn on the grill, and we had baked potatoes and salad--way too much food (though I did get a wonderful bite of cold steak this morning). We debated everything from family affairs to theology, and when the evening turned pleasant and cool, we drank wine on the newly re-done and most comfortable patio, while four-year-old Edie entertained us by demanding to "repair" all the furniture.
This morning we "hung out"--Jordan and Jamie went to his spin class, Mel took the girls to the tennis court, and they almost met each other coming and going--while Maddie and I got Jacob down for a nap. He slept so long it was almost 1 before we went to lunch and 2;30 before we finished. I didn't mean to eat dessert but the waiter brought me bread pudding as a birthday gift, and it was too good to pass up. Jordan and I headed back to Fort Worth about 4, and by 5:30 we were at Joe T.'s waiting for one of Chirstian's tables. It was busy, so we didn't really get much of a visit with him, and we weren't hungry--but somehow we managed to eat.
Jordan said, "isn't that how you wanted to spend your birthday--hanging out with your grandchildren?" And of course it was. I wished for the others, but I loved the ones I was with. Have you ever seen a one-year-old get a case of the uncontrollable giggles? And you can imagine what that did to his mother and grandmother! It was a lovely weekend.
Now I'm wondering if I could get a big party AND a trip to Santa Fe--or am I pushing my luck?