Don't Assume You've Missed the Boat
How Lisa Kogan got onboard with motherhood at 42.
I was sitting in my obstetrician's office waiting for yet another of the bazillion sonograms that come with a high-risk pregnancy. Having read all the magazines, I browsed my chart: The diabetes was under control, the blood pressure was normal—so far, so good. And then I turned the page. There it was, one word scrawled in ruby red Sharpie: "elderly."
I'd never thought of myself as old before. I did not watch The McLoughlin Group. I did not go on endlessly about how I could have bought an 18-room apartment for $12,000 in 1964. But I was 42, and in maternity circles, that ain't pretty. I spent the rest of the pregnancy imagining my daughter getting her ears pierced as I got my hip replaced, my daughter getting a diploma as I got Social Security, my daughter getting married as I got senile.
A decade has come and gone since that doctor labeled me elderly, and it's true; I can't remember long division, eat Gummi Bears, or tolerate Harry Styles. But what I can do is see the world through Julia's unjaded eyes. I can focus on her need to make French toast on a Saturday morning and forget about my need to check e-mail. I can pay attention to her desire for a Chinese checkers match and let go of my desire for Botox. I can imagine a future where everything is, if not possible, at least worth a try. Cynicism makes you old. Wonder, curiosity, and unbridled joy keep you young.