Just Go Ahead and Break Out the Cane

I knew intellectually that most people don’t go to seminary in their late thirties.  I knew intellectually that most people don’t have their first child after their twelfth anniversary.  I knew these things in my head, but I also, in my head, look the same as I did ten years ago.  Being here in the seminary community I looked around and most people looked about my age.  Here in our neighborhood most children are close in age to my children and most of the couples have done a few things between college and seminary.  I figured we were in the same age bracket.

Then I began to pick up on subtle hints in conversations that this wasn’t the case.  The first was someone mentioning that Toy Story was one of their favorite movies as a kid.  It came out the year I was married.  Then it was two conversations in two days that mentioned turning thirty as a future event and a third in which the young woman in question mentioned turning thirty as if it was something that happened to other people.

I was developing a complex.  Could I be the oldest seminary wife in my neighborhood?  I began to notice each time a gray hair popped up.   I studiously avoided mentioning anything that could date me.  I began doing math in my head (nothing short of a miracle for my head!) and realized in conversation that I was older than the associate director of admissions!  Eventually I was thinking of myself as the resident elderly aunt.

On the day I picked up our day old bread, I was chatting with the young woman responsible for bread distribution and had the worst of the “advanced age” moment.  This particular young woman has been married for seven months and is five months pregnant, so I’m already outside of my personal frame of reference when chatting with her, when she mentions that she knows my friend Nikki from Georgia.  Nikki was her family’s nanny.  Seriously.  I am THAT old!

I’m standing there chatting about how much I appreciate Nikki and that leads to a conversation about having lived in Georgia for twelve years when she says, “Your husband’s from Canada too?  How do two Canadians meet in Georgia?”  I paused, and mentally replayed the conversation in light of the question.

“Um, we were married when we moved to Georgia.”  I said.

Then it was her turn to blink while her brain took a turn it wasn’t expecting.

“You’ve been married twelve years?”  she asked, incredulous.

“Uh.  Fifteen.”  I said.

“You’ve been married fifteen years!?!”  She squeaked.  “Wow.  Amazing.  You don’t look old enough to be married fifteen years!  Wow!  Good for you.”

So I’ve learned that yes, there are some people here young enough that I could have been their babysitter, but as long as I don’t say anything to let slip my age (you know, like “Boy did I have a crush on MacGyver back in the day.”) no one will be offering me glucosamine supplements and worrying about me breaking my hip.


About Coralie

After 11 years of infertility, I am now a mother to three, a wife of a Presbyterian (ARP) preacher and a struggling homemaker. Welcome to my little corner of the net. Kick off your shoes, put your feet up and join the conversation. View all posts by Coralie

10 responses to “Just Go Ahead and Break Out the Cane

  • Becky

    I TOTALLY relate.
    Can you come over Thursday morning??

  • Melanie

    Again, laughing out loud!

  • Pati Allen

    Well…you have to remember that thirties is the new twenties!! Right? Besides twenties are so last, well, decade. =)

  • Jodi Plunk

    I’m with you in age and spirit… you’re not alone, when you’re next door maybe we can be each others ‘lifeline’ button if one of us falls down the stairs or bends down to pick something up and can’t get up again 🙂

  • melissa

    A few weeks ago I had one of those funny conversations…but it didn’t end the same way. I was at church during coffee time and one of my new friends said to me, “I heard a weird rumor about you,”
    “Oh?” I asked, afraid.
    “I heard you were, like, my age. How old are you?”
    “Uhhh, I’m 34, how old are you?” I answered, relieved that was the weirdest rumor she had heard.
    “REALLY? I thought you were at least 40.”
    A later relaying of the conversation with an impartial panel (my mother and mother-in-law) assured me that her sanity was indeed in question. But still…

    And I have NO gray hairs!

  • Sandi

    I look at my son and think I absolutely can NOT be old enough to have a son his age. I tell people I was 12 when I had him (knocking 10 years off never hurt anyone, right?)!! He goes into the 7th grade this year, is taller than I am and just doesn’t look like a little kid any more. And then I look at the people I graduated from high school with and am SURE that I don’t look that old. Oh well, don’t they say you are only as old as you feel?

  • AJU5's Mom

    I used to have the opposite problem – a community college instructor in her twenties. But, eventually everyone ends up closer in age. Well, it is more that our age categories get larger as we get older I think.

  • Lily

    When I was in my 40’s, just a year of two ago????, I was working with three girls who had just left high school. We got along terrific and I was really getting an education until I said something about my graduation and a look of horror came over everyone’s faces and one girl said “You’re older than my Mom”. We continued to work happily together buy from then on there seemed to be some editing of the information I was being given. As shame, I’d never learnened all that when I went to high school or in the years later.

  • Jawan

    Nothing like The Goonies, Footloose, Airplane, Raising Arizona, The Breakfast Club, Back to the Future, The Princess Bride, Field of Dreams, Ferris Bueller…..well, I could keep going but you get the idea. Time for a movie night on THE GULF, given by 30 something seminary wives, Coralie and Becky.

  • Carole

    I didn’t marry until I was almost 31, so ran into similar situations when I had my babies..eg Are you Coralie’s mother or Oma..ouch!!

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