I taught primary students in elementary school for close to a decade. Being the only male elementary teacher in the school district, I may have noticed a few things that others did not.
For instance, young kids can often say something in such an innocent way that it can be cute and utterly heartbreaking at the same time. Parents entering the classroom at the end of the day to pick up their child was familiar. Whether the parent knew it or not, they were always being judged by the other students. I tried my best to make the parents feel welcomed as they entered into my world for a minute or two. Still, sometimes you can’t prepare them for the honesty that can reign down from the children.
More than a few times, I have heard another student ask the child that is being picked up, “Is that your grandpa?” or “Is that your grandma?” loud enough for the whole class to hear. And you know if the kids heard it, then the parent must have heard it as well. Sometimes, you could see the parent die a bit inside from the comment with their shoulders sagging and a hurt expression on their face. Nobody wants to be told they look old, especially when you already know you are battling Father Time.
But this is what happens when you decide to have children later on in life than most! (Or you have bad genetics that makes you appear decades older.)
I’m Not Just a Witness, But I Am Also an Older Parent
I had my first child, little Ellie when I was 44 years old. I am steadying myself for a few of these issues that come up when she gets older, as she is still only a toddler at the moment.
Oldest Parent at the Park with a Toddler
Isn’t it fun to watch those young parents run around the park with their toddler? They go down the slides, swing on the tire swings, play in the sand, and generally just act like another toddler themselves. But for older parents, sometimes this is just not an option. Shouting encouragement from the side might be more your style. After all, one attempt at going down a kids’ slide could end with an unplanned trip to the doctor and a little embarrassment explaining how the injury occurred.
Thinking More of the Child’s Future
Parent plans for their child’s future in one way or another. But when older adults who do not possibly have as many years to live have children, their future planning usually goes into hyperdrive. College savings account are put in place, wills are validated and sealed, and emergency contacts are always on hand.
I know that my wife and I have all of these things laid out. Ellie already has more in her college savings account than I ever did! We would love to be around as long as possible, but just in case, we have things planned if an unfortunate event should occur.
The Generations Gap
I’ve witnessed kids and their parents arguing back and forth on what is in fashion or discussing the best movies or songs of all time. These parents, most of the time, were only a couple of decades older than their kids. Us more aging parents are not just facing a generation gap, but a few generation gaps. There is 45 years difference between my age and Ellie’s. We are often going to be clueless about what the other is talking about. I can barely fathom why people are raving about TikTok nowadays. When she gets older, who knows what will be “in”?
Remember when we had to operate our VCRs for our parents back in the day because they couldn’t manage to figure it out? Is something like this on the horizon for us older parents?
- I worry about not helping little Ellie with her homework as my school curriculum, and academics knowledge start to escape me. Because of this, I already have some professional tutors picked out through iAchieve, so I don’t have to try battling Algebra when I am in my sixties!
Having to Take Care of Your Parents and Your Children
As our parents become older, most of us have to help take care of them. If you are only 25 years old and have children, your parents probably are wonderful and managing their own lives without a big deal.
When you are an older parent, things change as your parents are getting up there in age, yet your children still are babies. It might mean driving your parents to doctor appointments, taking care of their house chores, helping them manage their finances, or whatever the case may be. But now we are taking care of our young children at the same time. This can be a lot on a person’s plate.
Unfortunately, my father just passed away a couple of months ago. He was 83 years old, and we were trying to help him out with his health issues and finances as much as we could while also raising Ellie and getting her to all of her appointments as well. It could be a hassle at times, and it is easy to get frustrated during certain moments as their cognitive skills weren’t what they used to be. Still, I sure wish my Dad was around to watch Ellie run around the house and sing along with Sesame Street. Young kids with older parents will usually not get the opportunity to know their grandparents in any sort of meaningful way except through stories being recalled over the years.
Your Life Is Turned Upside Down
By the time you enter your forties or older, you are fairly set in your ways. With a young baby on your hands, you might as well take your schedule you have been following for years and tear it all up into pieces.
Appreciate the Days Still Left
Some of us coast our final couple of decades in life. Retirement is spent falling to sleep early and waking up late. Or watching hours of tv which makes the days just run into each other as you explore your hobbies. But this is not the case with older parents that have young kids. Each day is new and exciting. And even though we may get exhausted at times, I don’t think any of us would want it any other way!