Book Body Soul Contributes article “Summer Beauty of Mid-Life” to Mothering in the Middle
Mothering in the Middle has posted a new item, ‘Summer Beauty of Mid-Life’, by guest contributor Lori Pelikan Strobel of Book Body Soul.
The deck is a nice place to sit and drink in the view, as well as to drink a
nice glass of wine. It gives me a bird’s eye view of everyone who is either in
the cottage, on the lawn, in the water or on the dock. The air smells like
summer; of suntan lotion and warm breezes. Ripples of diamonds sparkle on top of
the water as the sun smiles down and I feel its heat.
From this spot I can only see a snippet of the lake, which entrances me. My
family’s second home is here in the beautiful Berkshires. The brown Adirondack
chairs sit on the lush lawn like sentinels guarding the treasure beyond. The
trees sway lightly and I hear the birds chirp, lawnmowers whir, boats whizz, and
my daughters inside still deciding which bathing suit to wear.
Today, I am dissolving from my other world. Today, I am entering my heaven on earth; it holds more meaning now than it ever has before. This view has been experienced by generations of my family. For me now in mid-life, it contains more feelings, memories and relaxation.
If I go down to sit on the dock, I can see the whole lake from end to end. I will see the lake sprinkled with boats and all the cottages nestled into their space. The lake will glisten and roll with waves. From the dock, I know the only thing I will hear are the boats passing by and the lapping of the waves. I might hear an occasional yell as a water skier falls in the water. If I listen carefully, I might hear the memory of my nana’s voice yell “Zimna!” (which means “cold” in Polish) when she first gets into the water. I might even see a memory of my parents at their mid-life, lounging in the shade trying to read with half-closed eyes.
I now see my grown children as little babies learning to jump off the dock into their dad’s arms. I see my younger self tanning and wishing my older self would say, “save your skin, don’t tan.” If I sit down at the dock, it will certainly give me a smile and a sense of peace.
As I walk to the edge of the lawn, where the Adirondack chairs perch over the rocked wall edge, my mind can clearly see me as a young girl sitting with my great uncle and grandfather. I would sit between them with binoculars and believe anything and everything they would tell me. As I look out upon the lake, it looks the same to me as it did then – magical and beautiful. I fantasize that someday my husband and I will sit here with binoculars and, hopefully, with our future grandchildren. I pray that they, too, will believe everything I tell them.
A few short steps through the nearby boathouse, I arrive at the top of the steps that carry me down to the dock. I walk to the very end of the dock and know I have arrived. To the right, I can see one end of the lake dotted with sailboats, jetskis, and motorboats. In front of me, I notice the pontoon boat drive by with party guests on board. Jimmy Buffet blares from the speakers and people wave to me. I smile and wave back enjoying their joy.
The wind is stronger here and the sound of the lapping water of waves up and over the dock triggers a truce in my body and brain. It is time to stop thinking my brain beseeches me.
Splash! A big wave from a boat crashes on the dock spraying me with cool drops of water. It feels cold to me, but not for my daughters, nieces, and nephew who start tearing off their t-shirts to dive into the water in their new bathing suits. I’m older now; cold water doesn’t hold the same thrill.
The beauty of mid-life is to watch and enjoy the next generation jump into the memories they are creating for themselves. These are the same memories that I hold in my heart. I am at peace. My crossed eyes from days of work are bright. My ears are not listening to what people want; they are only listening to what I want. My mouth waters for the anticipatory grilled-dinner outside at sunset and my heart feels complete pleasure. The beauty of all this is knowing 30 years from now my daughters will themselves be at mid-life, and this legacy of the past memories will be recreated over and over again. This place is heaven and it continues to get brighter and more beautiful as I step into mid-life and they begin theirs.
Right now I am (so) happy to be here. The biggest decision is where should I sit. Should I sit up on the deck, down on the dock, or maybe on the Adirondack chair?
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