Will You Still Need Me . . . Will You Still Feed Me?

. . . . When I’m Sixty-Four? Yes, Today is my birthday. July 5. So far today I’ve done laundry, weeded, fed the critters and watered the haying crew, even made a few lackadaisical cleaning efforts. I’ve had text messages from my kids and a real, wrapped gift from my Dear Husband. I’m entertaining myself with the Beatles . . . . “If I am out til quarter til three/Will you lock the door? Will you still need me/will you still feed me/when I’m sixty-four?”

When I was twenty-four (can that have really been forty years ago?) I didn’t truly believe the day would come that my lissome, firm body would morph into my mother’s. (Okay, it was never lissome.) I didn’t realize that napping would be my favorite guilty pleasure. I didn’t expect that “What?” would be the most often-repeated word on my tongue. And one of the most surprising things is that my eyebrows would move to my chin. Still. Though outwardly perishing, inwardly I am renewed day by day.

Something amazing has happened in my marriage, for instance. All those hair-tearing annoyances no longer turn me into a banshee. I don’t know if it’s that the hormones have lost their power or if I finally decided that toilet seats were not worth the battle. My husband has become my friend. And the romance? It truly is wasted on twenty- and thirty-year olds. Such tenderness and acceptance only comes from seeing that time together is a finite thing. We aren’t wasting it anymore. There’s a depth that only years can give.

And another perk . . . I don’t give a hang if I’m fashionable any more. If I like it, I wear it. If my husband likes it too, all the better. I don’t mind a compliment, but criticism won’t throw me into a tailspin. It just doesn’t matter.

And relationships? It’s so good to just be with those I love. No striving. No whining. No comparing. No maneuvering toward changing them. Just genuine enjoyment of who they are. It took all these years to figure out that I am loved; therefore I can love.

I am pausing to enjoy small things. I stop to look at the stars when taking out the trash. I breathe in the perfume of the alfalfa blossoms and then of the drying hay. I watch the faces of those who are talking to me and rather than composing replies in my head I listen to them. It matters what is behind the words. A soul is there: uniquely, amazingly precious.

So these are my birthday musings. And here’s to the coming days.

“We’ll keep a garden/digging the weeds/Who could ask for more?/Will you still need me/will you still feed me/when I’m sixty-four?”