Twenty-one years ago I thought being what the doctors called an AMA mom was no big deal. I admit to being a little taken aback when I was first referred to as “Advanced Maternal Age.” It was one of those “Who you talking about?” moments.
How could I be on the cusp of being too old to have a baby? I felt fabulous. So fabulous I was ready to throw down with any non-AMA mom to prove it.
Today, I couldn’t throw down with anyone or anything because I can barely get out of bed.
Being an older parent forces you to reflect on a lot of things. There’s the really depressing stuff, such as you’ll have less time with your children because you’ll be dead. But, I always worked that to my advantage.
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When my husband would freak out over the toys and other goodies I would buy I would pathetically reply, “It’s not like I’m going to live to see grandbabies. I have to spoil them because they’re twofers – kids and grandkids.”
That personal pity party worked for a while until we had problems walking through our home due to all the Thomas the Tank Engine trains. Finally, I had to acknowledge that my excuse was lame and quite possibly life threatening because those trains created dire tripping hazards.
Other worries of being an older mom range from vanity to losing your youthful zeal. I was mistaken for being my children’s grandmother enough times for it to sting. Of course, this only happened in Texas, where the average age of having your first child is 17. (OK I made that up, but it’s not 35, I can tell you that. And there are people I went to high school with who have grandkids my daughter’s age. So there’s some empirical evidence for you.)
As for youthful zeal, that was never much of a concern. I’ve always been high energy until a couple of days ago, when being AMA finally bit me in the butt because there’s one thing missing in the all documents your doctor gives you to read concerning the downsides of being an older parent and it’s this: You’ll be moving a child in and out of dorms and second and third floor college apartments and it might kill you.
I consider myself a strong-ish person. Not to brag, but I have mad skills, as in I can bench press a 50 pound bag of dog food, and by that I mean haul it out of my car. So, I wasn’t that concerned about my son’s latest move out of one apartment and into another.
This was a mistake.
I blame the stairs. They were deadly. The steps at apartment No. 1 were mountain goat steep and they were also crumbling. This upped the degree of difficulty because not only were you navigating basically the side of a cliff, you were also perilously close to wiping out on concrete rubble. Now imagine walking backward down these stairs holding the end of a desk that felt like it weighed as much as a Ford F150.
Once you completed that strength and agility course it was on to apartment No. 2. Here, wooden stairs with a plethora of nails sticking out greeted you. It was as if they were chanting, “I hope you’ve had a recent tetanus booster.” Having to lug a full-size mattress up and up the stairs while leaping over nails made the journey seem like you were playing hopscotch with one of Satan’s minions.
I cursed. I almost cried and then I did cry when my health app on my phone showed I had walked 103 flights of stairs. The next day I had the mobility of a Popsicle stick. I felt like I needed a new hip.
Next year my daughter will be going off to college. This means double the move ins and outs. I hope I survive it. If you see a woman walking while hauling a mattress on her back it will be this AMA cross training for the fall of 2018.
Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@ gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.