Forest for the Trees

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“Mommy, I want to be a baby again…” Tears were welling up in my son’s eyes as his voice wavered. His grip on my hand tightened.

“Why is that, sweetheart?” I resisted the urge to tell him that he would be my baby forever. I remember wanting to roll my eyes whenever my own mother would say that. It never made me feel better about anything.

“Because when I was little you could cuddle me better.” He sniffed, wiping snot with his free hand. “Can’t I be a baby again, mommy?”

“No can do, darling.” I hugged him. “We can’t turn back time.”

I had not rembered the fact that I, too, had mourned the passage of time similarly as a child, but it all came flooding back as I sat next to him in the glow of the rocket ship nightlight. 

Growing up was exciting and bittersweet: Deciding that I should not suck my thumb or cuddle a stuffed animal at bedtime seemed like a good idea until it got dark, but I could not back down once I said it out loud. There were times I would stare longingly at my teddy from my bedroom, but grown up girls don’t need those silly things, right? I remember developing boobs and finding it terribly upsetting that my knees would never again touch my shoulders. Growing out of that beautiful red and white frilly dress hand-me-down from the “rich” girl at church with the stiff petticoat that made it stand out and swirl like a dream when I spun around.

Then adulthood.

Realizing that I did not have a bedroom to come back home to when it was converted into a guest room.

Turning thirty.

The first time that I understood that “Coopers Droopers”* was a real phenomenon. 

Turning forty. 

Whose face is that again?

It actually gave me some peace to realize this is not anything new for me or him or anyone else. We all mourn and grieve our youth, the march of time, and hopefully move on and that is just fine. I am not vain or flawed. I am human and that is a beautiful thing.

Photo taken somewhere in Switzerland…

*Coopers Ligaments are part of what make breasts “perky” and they get lax with age. In medical school we referred to them jokingly as “Coopers Droopers”. I can tell you now that it is not a joke…

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130 thoughts on “Forest for the Trees

  1. Indeed time marches on Victo. I have to say though that i am much less anxious and more comfortable with myself now than I was when i was young. I can walk into pretty much any situation without prior knowldge and know i can depend on my experience and knowledge to deal with the situation. I don’t have that feeling of being lost or seeking or the worry that I will miss something if i make a wrong decision. I wouldn’t go back.

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  2. I’m delusional, I am avoiding mirrors and pretending aging is just not happening. Although there are days when I wish my son we smaller and I could tote him around in a basket and not chase him. And cuddle, I love to cuddle. I hear it keeps you young!

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  3. In a somewhat selfish way, I’ve always been glad my last child is smaller than average. I could carry her at age 6, and I could still pick her up until sometime around age 10. She still fits very well in my lap, and I enjoy it.
    But no, no turning back time.

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  4. Now that my son is a grownup, I am enjoying it. But I’d like to go back on occasion, just for a visit. He was so very cute and sweet. He’s still pretty sweet and cute in a different way, but …

    I did wake him up recently and found that he was sleeping with his thumb in his mouth. So I guess I got my wish that morning.

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  5. I didn’t think I missed my youth our my kids’ youth. But then I found out that my 3 grown girls are going on a marathon shopping trip – without me, because I can’t physically handle it any more. I used to love shopping all day with my girls, and it makes me sad, while at the same time making me happy that they all get along now that they’re adults.

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  6. Grandchildren, all the pleasure of little ones without the need to raise them yourself πŸ˜‰
    The going back part though, I would only to make different/perhaps better decisions with the knowledge I have now, so I guess I want it both ways. I’m doing okay with the aging body thing, it’s the still thinking like a 20 something in the 50+ body that just doesn’t fit πŸ™‚

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  7. I have to laugh. Though I’ve never heard the term before, I knew immediately what Cooper Droopers meant. I don’t want to be that young again or even youngER. I’m mellowing and happy where I am now. The mirror lies but I don’t feel like buying a new one. I happen to like the frame around this one. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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  8. Funny how early we lose our sense of safety. Your son was smart enough to articulate exactly how we all feel as we get older. We want someone to wrap there loving arms around us and makes us safe. What a good mommy you are.

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      • Here is what I found: “The Cooper’s ligaments stretch causing the breasts to sag. This is sometimes referred to as Cooper’s droop. Myth has it that if a woman could hold a pencil under her breast, she has Cooper’s droop.” Would that be a #2 pencil, an Eberhard Faber Venus Velvet 2.5 Medium Firm? [giggle. naughty, naughty] For illustrations, Google Cooper’s Droop IMAGES. “The times, they are a changin’.”

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  9. You’re not the only one – there is definitely a mourning process when you make peace with the passage of time. I still sometimes have to remind myself that my 19-year-old body is gone forever. You know – the body with definition in my abs, perky boobs, and narrow hips – the one I thought was “so fat” at the time. I do my best to use that as a lesson to love my body the way it is NOW because in 30 years I will be willing to kill to have my 30-lbs overweight 32-year-old body back.

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  10. First of all, thanks for the “Coopers Droopers” explanation… I was too tired to have to Google it. πŸ˜‰ But as for the rest of your post… you made me feel old! And I’ve already been feeling old lately. This sucks. 😦

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  11. Thank you for explaining, I didn’t know. If someone made a Coopers Ligament strengthener they could make a lot of money….the bigger they are the harder they fall is so true. On the softer side…that was a very sweet story. πŸ™‚

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  12. I turned fifty a week ago. The week prior was spent in mourning, wearing black, changing my Facebook DOB setting to private only.

    Victoria Secret is having a sale on push-up bras. The pity party is over!

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  13. Well, the best combination for me would be: my knowledge and experience of my 56, and the rest around 35. I liked being 30-35 better than 18-20. I do not actually worry about some things like looking older, I’m still as slim as I was at 21, not much problems, but after the bad accident I had in 1992, I know that it takes only a second to stop living, and after this moment my values sort of changed. Appearance is just appearance, if I didn’t think so I couldn’t live with all scars and fractures. Any age is great as long as we feel to some extent fine, both mentally and physically.

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    • Yes, an accident and scars would change one’s perspective. So glad you survived! I, too, liked age 30-35 the best, and not because of a super sexy body (whatever!). I felt I could finally take myself seriously at that age.

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  14. I enjoy all of your posts, but this is one of my favorites. Coopers droopers, makes the process sound not only funny, but somehow universal. I would only go back if I could carry with me the wisdom I’ve gained. Without that wisdom, I don’t think think it would be worth it, even for the perks. πŸ™‚

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  15. I must confess: there was a moment where I thought you were taking this in a whole ‘nother direction. Because I misread your description of the nightlight to be not “shaped like a rocketship” but rather “nightlight ONBOARD a rocketship.”

    I’d still love the sentiment of this piece if it were set in outer space, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Watching the little ones grow up and know that there are certain things you’ll never experience again as a mom is also so tough. Many of those milestones are very bittersweet.

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  17. I actually find it harder watching *other* people get old.

    I don’t know if it’ll help, but I remind myself I may one day be nostalgic for *this* time, *this* age – it gives me some perspective. I guess I fear/think that once you start looking back, you’ll always be looking back.

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  18. Pingback: My Article Read (3-6-2015) (3-7-2015) | My Daily Musing

  19. I can’t think of an age that I’d want back again. They all led me to where I am now, and that’s a good thing. It did make me sad to read of wanting to stay in childhood; that only happens if yours was a happy one. For some of us, there was never a security blanket, teddy bear, toy or other memento; some were just trying to survive and move on. Sorry, Doc, think I just turned “Debbie Downer” on you. Van

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  20. My love bug is seven trapped in a ten year olds body by height. It’s so hard to watch their precious innocence become hurt feelings as other children who are not as loved as they should be express their jealousy in meanness. Hug and snuggles the best we can.

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  21. Well I have to say I’d turn back the physical clock if only to avoid the pain from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    I’ve never had a ‘thing’ about age…its just a numb er and its what js inside that counts. So take away my pain and with my renewed ability to move freely I’ll cope with Coopers Droopers with pleasure. Oh to wake refreshed from sleep knowing my body will move…without pain, no assistance needed and those crappy pain meds that glue me together.
    It’s so true… the grass is never greener than where you water jt and if you like the sun… it is never brighter and more cheering than when you can stride out and enjoy it. Life is a strange mix isn’t it?
    Thanks for the laugh and all the thought provoking discussion.
    Blessings, Susan πŸ’–

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    • “Wherever you go, there you are.” This was our morning’s meditation today. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. (But I’m with you: “those crappy medications” that glue me together. What if I stop them all? Scary. (I DO know drug withdrawal…. Scary thought.)

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      • That’s so true yet I have to wonder what’s at the bottom of the rabbit hole?
        We talk so much of the quality of life and yet seem so afraid of truly entering a conversation about what it really means. I wonder if it’s because they’re afraid to hear some of the answers? Toufgh questions bring out the heart and soul of people and the answers can be gut wrenching. I know we can only hope for more to come eith a little sparkle yet at times… the seduction of being “illness free”…time to meditate I think.
        Many thanks for the thoughts… more to ponder.
        Blessings, Susan πŸ’–

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  22. I fear age, I have to say. But I am old enough now to see it coming, and now that it’s here, and know that I’m not going back. I love nostalgia and the things that were before me when I was young, but I more love watching the progression of time through my children. It’s a precious thing – not mine, to be sure, but I’m still part of these childhoods too.

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  23. Time, it is a slippery thing, one minute you’re 20, then 30, then 40, then …….. well I’m certain time speeds up, it certainly seems that way. I just don’t know how to slow it down, any words of wisdom, doc?

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  24. I miss being able to make a playhouse out of a cardboard box, and a space shuttle out of a kitchen chair. I think on the times when my mom, my sister and I could all nap together on the sofa with room to spare, and when the hill in the local park looked like a mountain and you could roll for infinity. I may have to go check out some swings….

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