I woke up this morning and swung myself out of bed, realised I had a sore back and spent the next five minutes trying to recall what I had done that could have caused it. Nothing came to mind.

I held on to the railing as I came downstairs so that I wouldn’t trip over the dog and break my leg. In the kitchen I stood and stared at my mug, trying to decide if a single spoon really counted as added sugar and decided it didn’t.

Then I went to wake the kids. It seemed like only a short while ago that they were the ones coming to wake me; ruining my Saturday mornings with “I’m hungry!” or “I made a picture on the dog”. Now it’s me with my middle-aged back and legs and my sugar-filled love handles that is jumping (ok, more shuffling and sliding) out of bed.

Five years ago, was the first time my daughter called me middle-aged. I was utterly insulted. I had, after all, had my daughters when I was very young and certainly didn’t feel I belonged to an older, out of touch generation. I was the funny mom, the cool mom, I was hip. These days the only time I think of the word hip is when I am getting out of the bath, regretting having used bath oils as any sudden slip could dislocate my hip.

As the children have gotten older, the generation gap seems to have increased. My son invites me to play PlayStation so that he can laugh at me. We play Call of Duty against each other and the first one to 10 kills wins. I lose within two minutes. “How do you always know where I am?” I asked him. “I look at your screen,” he said pointing to the bottom of the split screen. “But how do you know where you are going if you are looking at my screen and not yours?” I asked. He looked at me like I was an idiot. I hung my head in shame and pressed the restart button. About half a minute into the next game and, after having checked out every corner that he could be hiding in, I told him I couldn’t find him anywhere. “I’m behind you,” he said. I spun my character around in circles, holding the button in and firing non-stop but couldn’t see his character anywhere. “You’re not even there,” I said. “Mom, you’re shooting at the sky,” came the reply. I don’t play PlayStation anymore.

Maybe this generation gap is a boy thing because I don’t remember being laughed at quite this much by my daughters. I think that maybe they were scared of me. My sons aren’t. It’s difficult to be scared of someone who you have to bend down to hug. Every time I scold them, I am intensely aware that I am looking up at them and am secretly praying that they don’t see through my “I’m the boss here” facade. Who am I kidding? They already do. I’m quite sure they just play along for my amusement.

It’s not all bad, though. I’ve been known to play the middle-age card to my advantage from time to time. When the grocery bags need carrying or the dogs need walking, I can rely on my sore back to get me out of it. Fetching the kids from somewhere late at night hardly ever happens either, because my middle-aged eyes can’t see so well at night (wink wink). I realised that I overdid it one morning when my son said to me “Mom, I don’t want you to die.” He decided then and there that I was cutting all sugar from my diet. I’ve taken to walking the dogs myself again. I’m not that old!

Secretly I am thankful that I have to get up first thing in the morning while everyone is still soundly sleeping. It gives me a few minutes to stretch out my back and to be thankful that I made it down the stairs intact. I get to enjoy the calm and peace before everyone rises and needs my help. It also means that nobody sees me adding sugar to my tea.


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