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Age is Definitely More Than a Number

I still sometimes get asked the question: “Do you and your husband think you’ll ever have more kids?”

My response is usually a little chuckle followed by a quick “no.”

Then comes the follow-up: “You know, women are having kids well into their 40s these days.”

I am always perplexed by that statement.

I had Mikey when I was 35, which is considered “advanced maternal age.” Despite that “condition,” I had a fantastic pregnancy. I didn’t look or feel any different until at least 20 weeks. I had no morning sickness and only an occasional wave of nausea. No diabetes or hypertension. No heartburn. No swollen legs. It was a piece of cake!

And labor and delivery weren’t all that bad, either. Would I have rather been on a Disney cruise? Of course. But could I do it again? Absolutely.

The unimaginable thought for me has nothing to do with growing a baby in my 41-year-old body, it’s chasing after a toddler when I’m 45. Or negotiating with a 7-year-old when I’m almost 50. Or – gulp – rearing a teenager when I’m hoping to retire early.

Summertime is a real eye-opener when it comes to realizing just how much I am too old for this. Let’s take one of America’s greatest warm-weather recreational activities – miniature golf.

I hate mini-golf. Yes, I said it. It’s just nonstop bending down. It’s hot, and there’s usually no shade, so my aging, already wrinkling skin is exposed to direct sunlight.

And curse the young, fit gym teacher for introducing Mikey to kickball (and baseball/T-ball, for that matter). It’s bad enough that our driveway is pitched so when we’re playing basketball and miss the hoop, we have to run to catch it before it goes into the road – but now we are talking about running bases.

We are a family of three, which means that during a game of kickball we are all constantly in motion. There is no waiting for your turn to kick, or just standing on a base as they all fill up. Usually, the child kicks the ball way off into Neverland, and by the time you return with it, it’s your turn to kick.

And if I do kick the ball and make it to “rest” at a base, I get about 35 seconds of respite while my husband kicks, and even if I don’t make it back to home base I still have to go kick again, since there are no other players.

A new game we have learned to hate is Wall Ball. If I understand Mikey’s instructions correctly, one person throws a tennis ball against a wall (in our case, the side of the house), and before you can catch it you have to run and touch the wall. So, you throw, then run to touch the wall, then run to get the ball.

That’s a whole lotta running.

Then there’s the dreaded four-word request that often comes at the end of the day, when we pull in the driveway after picking Mikey up from some after-school activity and we’re making our way up the front walk.

“Can we play tag?”

If only this kid understood how hard my knees snap, crackle and pop coming up the stairs, he wouldn’t ask me for this end of the day “finisher.”

In addition to the physical activities, there even passive occasions that are hard on the aging body.

Mikey likes going to the local high school basketball games in the winter. Awesome! We really love that he likes to see the older kids play and see how excited he gets to “be like them” one day.

You know what’s not awesome? Sitting on the bleachers. Last season, after shifting my weight from one cheek to the other for over an hour, and fanning myself with the paper roster, I leaned over to my husband and tapped his arm.

“Babe,” I said. “When Mikey is old enough to play high school basketball, we’ll be 10 years older than we are now. I can barely handle sitting on these wooden bleachers at this age. Can you imagine doing it at age 51?!”

“Forget that,” he said. “Why is it so hot in here?”

Later that night while tossing and turning in bed, I came up with the perfect solution – performing arts. We’ll push an interest in musical theater. That way, we can enjoy cushioned seats and – fingers crossed – possibly even air-conditioning.

Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Times/Press and mother of a 6-year-old. She can be reached at


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