FRUIT of the vine

Elton John has warbled “The Circle of Life” at least a million times over the last decade and while I’m more than tired of the song, its message is meaningful to me.

Especially as I try to navigate this time of midlife.

Some women rejoice when fertility ends, taking away worries about pregnancy, miscarriage, and even the need for expensive hygiene products. It’s not hard to say goodbye to surprises at the worst possible moments. Yippee! Freedom.

Good points all. But I’m finding there is also a deep grief that begins to set in as the era ends. Life was one way for decades. Now it is new.

As girls, we wait breathlessly for that magical moment when, we are told, we are women. That is huge at 11 or 12 when the light switch is flipped on. What happens now when it is flipped off?

We are Mother Earth, offering physical and emotional love and care to those in our orbits. We have nurtured and fed the babies that grew within us, and mourned the ones we lost. These are bonds like no others.

I remember sobbing as if life itself was ending the day my daughter stopped nursing. My husband tried to salve my pain, but couldn’t. And now, there is a new pain. It’s not that I would have ever wanted another baby at this time of life. I wouldn’t. My youngest is almost 14.

More, this was something that was mine. The most inherently intimate and magical thing I was able to do, which was an indelible link to the essence of me. And now it is gone.

Of course I know that life holds other wonders. New experiences. Things to achieve. But it also means that I am getting older. And no one likes to admit that.

My kids’ excuse, when there is a surprise burp or other outburst at the dinner table or elsewhere, is to declare fervently, “Mom, I didn’t see it coming!”

Well the same can be said for me. I knew intellectually that the day would come, but I don’t know that I really believed it. I’m not sure of the exact moment my life changed. All I know is that I realized this week that it had.

And that made me feel the same way I did that day long ago when my last baby reached for her cup, instead of me.


About Michele

I am a freelance writer with three kids, two cats, and a dog with thyroid disease. I'm bouncing back from a divorce and making the most of every day. There is so much beauty around me. I am grateful!
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