At the gym this morning I overheard two women talking. The women were not young, easily old enough to be grandmothers. They were not trying to act young, by any means. That is, they were not dressed in the latest skimpy cut of Spandex and Lycra. Their faces didn’t seem to have been reshaped by the expertly wielded knife of a cosmetic surgeon. Their hair didn’t display any hints of unnatural colors. In fact, there were plenty of grey locks escaping from underneath the baseball hat one of the women was wearing.
All the more surprising then, the tone of their conversation and the way their voices lilted, which was what made me pay attention to what they were saying. Turns out they were talking about their children and the feats those children have managed to rack up lately. A new apartment, the prospect of a job interview, years after having finished school, by the sounds of it. These were not children in the sense of, well, still children on the threshold of coming into their own. No, by the sounds of it, these were adults, probably older than my own children, who are not children in years, by any means. And yet the pride of these mothers was palpable, as if it had been a judiciously (and continuously) trained muscle ready to be flexed fully any time anywhere.
The way these women carried on reminded me how out of practice I am when it comes to kvelling. Not so long ago, polishing off the accomplishments of the offspring was a major sporting event among my cohorts. Not having been very good at it, for reasons that didn’t have to do entirely with my skills only, by the way, I was looking forward to retiring from the fray once my children had reached a certain age, and, well, a certain stage. I might have hung up my lips on the hooks of bygones lately when in comes to praising the deeds, large and small, of my kids, but it looks like there are plenty of old pros who have no plans to retire yet. In fact, the older their kids get, the larger the shadows they seem to throw across the landscape of their lives.