Griping about getting older is commonplace. Seeing yet another candle on that cake -remember the virtual inferno that was Henry’s cake in the movie On Golden Pond? A few years ago, my kids and I laughed because they did the same thing to me. EVERY number had a candle, plus one for good luck…the end result was a highly beautiful cake but one that actually gave off heat. Good lord. Then, there’s the dealing with the aches and pains and lack of bounce in your step …but all the other parts are bouncing, coincidentally. Parts of aging are just really for the birds.
But not all.
Lately, I’ve had this realization (can a realization be on-going?)…the glorious thing about adding candles to your cake is that you have the distinct advantage of being able to look backwards and…spackle. Familiar with spackle? I am; we have a 213 year old house. Spackle is a slightly-gooier-than-putty-type of mixture that can fill any hole in the universe and make it look good again. Mix it up, get out your little “spackle knife” to help it get into the cracks, wait a bit, let it dry, sand it down and bam! you have a smooth surface again. Brilliant stuff. It’s the house equivalent of Botox.
In our old home, nothing is straight, there are little dings here and there….age and time show themselves in every corner of our abode. But there is a definitive character present in this old girl (the house, not me. Zip it), one that is undeniably interesting, quirky, humorous and welcoming. We love her. Enter: Spackle. You still have a floor that is so crooked that, as small children, your kids could sit on a scooter in the living room, raise their feet off the floor and roll clear into another room. But the the dings have been smoothed over and it’s presentable to the world.
But spackle a life? Yup. That’s possible, too.
This weekend, my older daughter competed in her very first tennis tournament. She’s been taking lessons for about four years and the time had finally come to enter the court in a new capacity. She’s old enough, both in age and experience: Tourney-time. It was a glorious, sunny, Sunday morning and my younger daughter and I got to the courts, got older daughter signed in and planted ourselves court side in our folding chairs. Iced coffee in hand, I noticed that as I sat there, watching one game and then the next, my foot was swinging back and forth nervously. My girl was out there on that court, facing a single competitor and holding her own. As she played, there were moments of smiles, of jokes, of goofiness (she’s still learning about the “decorum” that comes with tennis matches), of seriousness and focus. Ultimately, she lost one match but won the other. The perfect first tournament, where she could experience both sides of the competitive coin.
One of my biggest regrets of my childhood days was that I never played a sport. Hands down, a giant void in my development. We were an arts and music family and sports just didn’t enter into that equation. As the years are passing, though, I’m proud to say that I’m becoming more active and athletic with each year (this year I’ve signed up for a Warrior Dash, remember?), so by age 60, I should be a force to reckon with. Or at least a force that can still keep up with the younger forces. I like this feeling immensely, it’s girl power at it grandest.
Between becoming more athletic (it’s all relative, though, I say laughingly. I’m talking MY definition of athletic here) myself and then, to watch my girls participate in activities like tennis tournaments….well, that’s spackle. Life spackle. I cannot tell you how it filled my soul-truly filled my soul in a way that is indescribable-to watch my girl out there on the court at her young age. She’s learning lessons that I did not have a chance to learn that early. This is living vicariously in the best way possible. A chance to go back in time and fill in the blanks of your childhood that you missed.
Spackle it up, filling in those spaces that you missed… and smooth it over. “Home” repair in the truest sense of the word.