Fifteen months ago, I became a grandmother. As I watch my daughter nursing her daughter, while yet another hot flash consumes my inner core, there is no denying I am entering the world of the crone. Crone is a word that can conjure a range of images, some of them wart-nosed with a penchant for eating young children. Perhaps if I was Parisian, I could enter this stage with style and flair and a 25-year-old boyfriend. Alas, I am not. We can face lift and hair dye it away for a little while, but eventually we all must move beyond our youth.
So why write about this in the month focused on new beginnings? Because it is just that. This new mantle catches me by surprise. Unexpectedly I feel a wave of competence when before the wave would have been of uncertainty. I recognize the necessity of younger generations passing through the lessons I too once suffered. I’ve proven to myself most of the things I needed to prove, and while I can’t claim to have mastered my ego, I have befriended it and can recognize when it’s ego that is speaking.
I will push and pull between motherhood and cronehood for another 10 years at least, and life has many more lessons ahead. But in my finest moments, I can embody Grandmother Spider of the Navajo or Grandmother Willow from Disney’s Pocahontas. I can sense a deep store of knowledge; from it, I can find compassion and offer guidance for having lived to see the other side of earlier adventures.
At times (particularly when my joints are aching) I look to old age with trepidation. But by and large, I look forward to the voyage. I stand at the threshold of an exciting new world and feel invigorated by its awesome possibilities.
The Words of Wisdom? is a publication of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett.