Things They Can’t Say: JDaniel4′s Mom

Deirdre is a former elementary school teacher and technology integration specialist. After twenty years of teaching school in Virginia, she got married and moved to South Carolina. Eighteen months later she became JDaniel4’s mom. Her blog, Jdaniel4’s Mom, features things that her four year old son and she are creating, exploring, and learning together.

Older Parents

 

Over twenty years ago I taught an amazing little boy named Doug. He was really bright, friendly, and filled with abounding joy. Doug could read and do math skills way beyond his second grade peers but, it wasn’t his intelligence that impressed me most. His love of his life and his family is what stood out to me.

 

Right before I met with his parents for our first parent conference I was stopped by his teacher from the year before in the hall. She wanted me to know that Doug had amazing parents but, that there was something different about them. “They are really old! I think they are in their late forties!” she said.

 

When I sat down with them, I did see that they were older. They were about twenty years older than me.Doug’s dad had thin ring of hair on this head and his mom was dressed in a style a little different than the other moms.

 

When they listened to me talk about their son and shared their thoughts with me, they look and talked just like the other parents.

 

I am getting ready to send my son to PK4 and I am forty sevenish. My husband and I are about the same age Doug’s parents were when I met with them.

 

My son JDaniel has no idea that he had really old parents. He probably will when he get older and he starts to notice that our skin has more wrinkles and we don’t look like his friends parents.

 

My husband and I have talked about the fact that we will probably be old enough to be the parents of most of his teachers and some of his friend’s parents. I know that right now I have sweaters upstairs that are older than they are.

 

Do I sometimes wish that I had been younger when I met my husband? Yes.

 

Do I wish that I were a younger mom for my son’s sake? Yes, sometimes I do.

 

Do I believe that everything happens the way it is planned to? Yes, I sure do.

 

Jdaniel will mostly likely have the oldest parents at his kindergarten, high school, and college graduations.

 

He will probably have friends ask him if my husband and I are his grandparents.

 

When he gets those questions, I sure hope that he feels the way Doug did about his parents! Doug looked at his family and his life and loved both of them with all his heart. He didn’t seem embarrassed to walk down the hall with his really old parents in fact he seemed proud of them.

 

When we walk Jdaniel into school and attend school events with him, I hope that his teachers will see me the way I saw Doug’s parents. We will be just like all the other parents. We will just be a lot older with a lot less hair.

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Comments

  1. says

    They will see the good things! When I was a teacher, I worked in the inner city. There were parents (of my middle schoolers) I would have sworn were older brothers and sisters if I hadn’t known the difference. It’s a different end of the spectrum, yes, but what concerned me was the way they treated their children. JDaniel and and his friends and teachers and friends’ parents will see the caring parents you are :)
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  2. says

    Great post, Deirdre. Pierce’s kindergarten teacher seems sooo young! I think she must be in her early 20s. I must seem old to her. I think I have a lot more patience now than I did when younger, so I’m glad Paul and I waited through 10 years of marriage before having kids.

  3. says

    My parents were older parents…not quite to the same extent, but I always had the oldest parents among my friends.  It never bothered me though.  People are starting families both earlier and later than in the past, so I think a lot of teachers are used to seeing both extremes.
    Kmama recently posted..Proud Mommy Moments: That Buster!My Profile

  4. Anna M. says

    Love this post! My husband and I are in our late 30′s and mid-40′s and just had our first child just over a year ago. I sometimes wish we had started earlier, but Then I think of how I was in my 20′s and realize my daughter is much better off with this version of me.
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  5. says

    JDaniel is very lucky to have a mother with so much love, perspective and experience (not the age, the teaching!). This post is a great reminder that being a GOOD mother doesn’t have an expiration date; it’s all about being prepared to make the sacrifices and commitment to raising another human being.

    I’m 43 and my kids are 13 and 15, so I obviously had them on the “younger” side of parenting.  Now that they are suddenly (or so it seems) so independent, my husband keeps “joking” about having another round of kids…he LOVES being a father and isn’t ready for the so-called empty-nest. And I know a part of him is actually wistful and wouldn’t mind.

    The funny thing is, my objection wouldn’t be so much my age (I suppose I’d be only a little older than you were if I were one of the lucky older women who could conceive); but we’ve devoted more than a decade and a half to this stage already. I love being a mom, but starting over – I think – would have its challenges.

    Which is why I’m thrilled that you’re hitting all these milestones for the first time and I applaud you for your clear devotion to your son.

    I’m CONFIDENT he will grow up knowing he’s loved…no matter what.
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  6. says

    I don’t think it’s the age of the parents that should matter but the way you raise your children. I’m sure JDaniel will be just fine. My husband and I are on the other side of the spectrum and are much younger than most of our children’s friends and classmates’ parents. I’m 33 and my son will be 12 in December. We have gotten comments about how young we look but overall the kids are doing fine and seem to deal with it pretty well. It is what it is… and like you I believe things happen the way they do for a reason which has been proven to me many times over the years!
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  7. christy says

    I am a 43 y/o momma of a toddler. I also have a 17 y/o. The oldest could be the parent of the youngest, and when we go out in public, we get the questioning glances. But I don’t care! Our latest is beautiful, amazing and wonderful. I feel so privileged and honored to have added another to our troupe. In fact, I pray we can add yet another in the near future. I will take a baby any way, any where and any how that I can get one! Nothin better!

    I have several friends who have similarly spaced families. That is the secret – make friends with the gals who are open to having more. Whether they have them or not, the fact that they’d take them with open arms is what matters. With their friendship and support you won’t even care what the others say when they see Jdaniel’s “old” parents. 

    Enjoy! I know you will!

  8. says

    This is so beautiful! I loved hearing your story from the Parent’s perspective! My mom was 36 when I was born. YES, she is old enough to be my grandmother. In fact I actually have a nephew that is older than me and one that is just barely younger than me. (my oldest sister is old enough to be my mother.) My parents had 9 kids. So they didn’t have me late, it’s just that I was the last one…they had lots of them in between. But still, it wasn’t until I was in High School that someone commented on the difference between my parents and the majority of everyone else’s parents. I had never noticed. To me, they were my parents. They loved me. They gave me what I needed. They supported me in my school events. They were amazing. So no, it didn’t bother me at all that they happened to be older. They were my parents and I loved them. Age doesn’t put limits on how someone can love for a child. 

    I’m sure your son will love you just as much. 
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  9. says

    What a great post! Now a days it’s not uncommon to start your family in your forties I do believe it is more acceptable now. In the end all the matters is that you are there for your child and that you love and support him. I had my first child at 16 yrs old and my 6th child at 31. I do not regret starting young but I do sometimes wish I would have had the opportunity to wait a few more years so I could have grown as a person first. I was raised by my grandparents and their age never bothered me.  
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  10. says

    I think that your age isn’t a factor in regards to the love you have for your son. Yes, it will be a factor as you get older, but he will love you both SO much. I was a young mom and my kids were graduating high school when other kids were starting elementary. lol It’s interesting to say the least. There really isn’t any “perfect” age to become a parent I don’t think and i’m happy for the family you have right now!
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  11. says

    Ah, I loved this! My parents were young…probably my age when I was in High School. We are older too but what I have found is that most of the parents of our kids are in their mid to late 40′s. I think many of us went to college and started our careers before having kids. You are so young at heart Deidre!!!
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  12. says

    From 7th grade until the end of high school, I had a best friend whose parents were much older than most of the others. I found them to be positively delightful, though. They didn’t have the energy that some of the other parents did, but they were funny and always told some of the best stories. Being older just means you have more experience and better stories to tell!
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  13. says

    In the area where I live, the average age of parents for children aged 7 – 4 (my kids’ ages) is about 10 years younger than my husband and I. College, career, and infertility made it result in us having our kids a little bit older (although in a more metropolitan area we would fit right in). It bothers me sometimes, but other times I just know that it means I get to have them with me for longer, and I DEFINITELY know that I am a better mother at the age I am now than I would have been 10 years ago (not saying that about other parents, just me in particular).
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  14. says

    I used to be a teacher too and my student’s parents had a huge age range. Since I taught in an inner city school there were many parents younger than me with kids in the second grade. But there was a parent in their late 40′s or early 50′s every year so I’m sure you won’t be the only one. Last year in my daughter’s preschool class the youngest mom was 24 and the oldest was on of my friends at 48. It’s funny that I don’t think of her as “older” since we have a kid the same age. I think the same thing goes for kids.
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  15. Tiffany says

    I think little man will only benefit from having older parents. Your maturity, stability, and experience will be invaluable to him! I wish my kids had the blessing of having a more stable parent. :)

  16. says

    This was great….I sometimes feel like an older mom now. When my older children were little, I really was young and felt like I fit right in with the other parents. But, with my younger two sons I feel like the older mom, because I’m now 40 and the parents of their friends are in their 20s and early 30s. It’s hard sometimes, but I don’t think I would change things either. Heck, I may look older and somedays feel older, but there are a lot more days when I feel young and I think my boys make me feel that way. Thanks for sharing!
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  17. says

    My mom was pretty young when my parents married but my dad was 28– so not really old, but by the time me the 5th of 6 kids came along my parents were definitely the older parents- but I didn’t really ever mind.  I could always find my mom at my marching band compitions in the crowd because of her beautiful white/silver hair. 
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  18. says

    I’ve been both the young mom and the old.  I can say that my children got very different sides of  me.   Some days I think the older me is a way better mom and some days I think ohh did I have way more energy maybe the younger me (who didn’t worry so much) was better.  Either way they all 3 are stuck with the mom they have.  
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  19. says

    My parents were very very young when they had me (15 and 17).  But I never really felt an age difference with my friend’s parents.  To me they were just my parents!  I know you and your husband are amazing parents and JDaniel is lucky to have such an extraordinary love?
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  20. says

    I too believe that the age of a parent does not matter – it is how much love and guidance we give our kids.  I am a teeny bit older than my parenting peers – by about 5 – 7 years – and if anything, I think that is to my advantage, since I find I’m not as self conscious as my younger counterparts. What will the other mamas think?  How are my kids milestones compared to the others, etc are all things I don’t worry about – because I think a lot of that stuff dissipates with age.  It’s good to have some life under your belt before trying to raise kids! 
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  21. says

    As you know, I’m an older mom, too. My six year was born when I just turned 37, and my two-year was born before my 41st birthday. I had older parents, but they were not as old as I am now with my kids, but in the 70s, they were old for the times. Hollywood has changed about how people feel about older parents, and for one thing, I”m so happy with that change. It’s not uncommon for actresses to have babies in their 40s. From 20 years ago to today, the perception has changed a lot. I also believe that kids keep you young. Great post. Things are just meant to be like they are. We were meant to be older parents.
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  22. says

    I’ve just found your blog and I’m enchanted.  Thank you.
    We were much older parents (40 and 60 respectively) to a wonderful surprise  and we always worried that our son would be scarred for life.  When he was little I used to tell him at every opportunity that “mommies and daddies come in all shapes and sizes and colors and ages” .
    He was a freshman in high school when we were driving home from dinner and from the back seat he said, “Hey guys, I just figured out I’ve got the oldest parents in the high school … ”  There was complete silence as my husband and I looked at each other, and then he continued, “… it’s so cool, I’ve got the wisest parents!”  As a very happy college student, he is our joy!

  23. says

    It’s interesting what stigmas are attached by society about certain things. I don’t think there are uniform ages when people get married or have kids. One of my college professors recently got remarried and they are both in their late 40s/early 50s, with grown kids. My cousin just remarried last year, in her late 60s. It’s not as big a deal as it once was.
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  24. says

    I worry about that too. I’m 47 now and my youngest is almost 2. She will never have a young mom with tons of energy. But I’m a bit more laid back now that I was with my first ones. I also don’t have to work full-time so she gets more of me. Maybe that makes up for it a little.
    Sandy
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  25. says

    My husbands mother was 40 when she had him. In fact she is the same age as my grandma. Having an older parent never bothered him until the early onset Alzheimer’s showed up..then it was hard because his peers had no idea what he was going through.

    We are in our early 30′s and older parents than many of our peers but not all. I am thankful for the additional stability I am able to provide as an older parent. Even though there are many days I would give anything to have the energy I had 10 years ago!

  26. says

    Deirdre, I think you said it best:

    Do I believe that everything happens the way it is planned to? Yes, I sure do.

    I also met my husband relatively ‘late’ and am now busy making up for lost time (3 kids 5 and under). Being older than some gives me more patience, a little more money and control over my career – things I wouldn’t have if I was in my 20s. I think Brianna said it best about the stigma associated with aging changing all the time. In my circles no one takes you seriously at 30 (you’re still a kid), and they look at 50 as the new 30 (and 60 is the new 40). Funny how things change!
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  27. Jema K says

    My parents were easily the oldest of all my friends at school. My Dad was 59 when I was born and 61 when he had my sister, there was a 24 year age gap between my parents so my Mum would have been about 40 when I started school. It never occured to me that my parents were older at the time, people frequently assumed that my Dad was my Grandad which he found ammusing, I just figured grown ups were a little bit silly I guess. It was only in my late teens that I realised that my parents were older, when I think back I value the wisdom that they brought with them to parenting. I had my son when I was 21 and often feel that my youth and naivete cause many more problems, most of the other parents at my sons school are much older than me and their maturity is such a blessing to my family. More through bad luck than age I had lost both of my parents by the age of 25 and my Mum never got to meet my son but one can never know the length of their life and I wouldn’t change my childhood for the world!

    Youth is overrated I think Jdaniel is a lucky boy!