Being the Older Mother of a Young Child

Being the Older Mother of a Young Child

This morning, while walking Yoni to kindergarten, I saw an old lady, approximately 83 years old and 4 foot 10, approaching us quickly on the sidewalk. Her tight gray headscarf flying behind her. Her lips puckered with determination, a nursery schooler’s choo-choo-train backpack swinging from her hand.
So I put one and one together: grandmother delivering grandchild’s forgotten backpack.
And this grandmother made me think of myself, with Yoni.
No, I’m not 83 years old (nor 4 feet 10 inches tall), but I am old enough today to be a young grandmother. And I often think, when I’m walking with Yoni, that even though I love being the mother of a small child, I am relatively old to still be doing the little-kid thing.
That grandmother made me think back to how being a young mother of young children used to make me feel. It made me feel OLD. I had so many more responsibilities and was infinitely more tied down than my former classmates or other women my age who weren’t even married yet.
But now that I’m an older mother of young children, I feel the opposite. Having little kids means that I still get to go on exciting outings to the shekel store, and snuggle with a 5-year-old during bedtime and Shema, and rush back and forth for dropoff and pickup, tossings “Shalom”s and “How-Are-You”s?” to fellow mothers along the way.
The pulse of my life is, b”H, still the pulse of a mother of little kids.
Like that grandmother rushing down the street with the choo-choo-train backpack, headscarf flying. Not a kid anymore. Maybe not even a kid at heart anymore. But, definitely, she has a kid within her heart. Always.

8 comments

  1. this is very thought provoking for me, at first i identified with you feeling old and why would i want to give myself a few more years of diapers, potty training, gan parties, etc. when i might be actually leaving this stage (until the grandchildren of course), but then your writing took a twist and made me see things in a “better” light, thank you.

  2. Beautiful. The gift and blessing of children. Felt in some ways even more powerfully the older we get.
    Thank you for putting your words to the feelings, it really resonated.

  3. Feel exactly the same! Having a baby to us is meaning we’re still young enough. But this is so different to today childfree world.

  4. Good for you!!!! I’m nearing that stage myself and love your perspective on it

  5. rivkah sarah

    A lot of women who marry young are grandmothers before they are 40, so being a grandmother doesn’t automatically translate to “older mother.” I had my first child when I was close to 40 and was always older than the other mothers at school events, even those with grandchildren. Now that my children are all above bar/bas mitzvah, but too young to get married and have their own children, I really miss having a little one around.
    Childhood passes so quickly. Whatever stage you are at with your children, try to enjoy it.

  6. Michael Freedman

    This piece is so sweet. Thank you for sharing. I love hearing about your kids, and the magic they bring. We are done, with three but I’m glad we had the 10 years apart. It’s one thing to be the fastest dad on the playground and another to just watch in amazement as they grow up.

    • wow…beautiful. I would love to meet your kids one day. Please send my love to Grace (to readers who don’t know, michael is my 1st cousin!) Nessiya was here over Chanukah (did you hear she made aliya?) and we were saying how wonderful it would be to get together all the girls named after Grandma Florence-my Hadas (age 21), Nessiya, and your daughter (sophie florence?).

  7. Keren Yekutiel

    I am totally with you, Chana Jenny! My youngest is also five and I relish all the sweet moments we share together. It’s so different than when I was a younger mother. Things are in a way more relaxed because I usually know what to expect and my older kids are pretty independent. I appreciate the time I spend with my younger kids much more now.

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