On a show called Toy Hunters tonight, the host was digging through boxes and boxes of old toys and coming up with a number of treasures he wanted to buy low and then sell high through his business. What drove home the idea that I am at or past some kind of major milestone was a comment he made as he dug into a box full of early 1960’s toys, pulling out at least four or five items my brothers and I were excited to find under the Christmas tree.
I think there was a Mr. Machine in his hand when Jordan Hembrough said, “I’m not usually interested in things this old, but this is cool.”
The toys I loved are too old? The motorcycle I once owned is teetering on the line between classic and antique? The shows I remember fondly are too old for TV Land?
That’s OK. Let the young ones tease me about advancing age and all the attendant problems it can bring. I still think I’ve got plenty of things that younger folks can only look forward to having.
I’ve got the wisdom of age … and the greatest piece of that is the wisdom of knowing what I don’t know, of understanding that there are things I will never understand and of accepting things I could (and probably should) never change.
Even greater than all of those, however, are the memories one builds year-by-year. In my case, the good memories far far outweigh the bad even as I continue to try to work my way out of the underemployed and shake the emotional aftereffects of a house fire.
The joy on the face of my daughter Jessica as she nears her wedding on Nov. 17 is enough to lift my spirits, but the joy goes well beyond that. My daughters’ love of family is such a blessing that I found myself a bit teary eyed one day last week just thinking about the way that Jessica is integrating every member of her immediate family into the ceremony. From her sister Hannah serving as Matron of Honor and Hannah’s husband Brian joining our own pastor in officiating over the ceremony, this will truly be a family affair. Hannah and Brian’s three children all have roles, as well.
But the joy doesn’t stop there. Jessica and Hannah have both been in touch with out-of-town cousins and friends and giving us excited updates about who is coming to town for the big day. Jessica still has many fond memories of the way that 40 or so relatives packed into our house and our garage on a rainy evening after Hannah’s wedding for one of the greatest family karaoke parties in history.
We have several great musicians in the family and both are coming to town. I look forward to having them entertain us on the back patio if weather allows, or in the garage if we must find cover.
The man who changed our lives by recognizing my potential as a young editor and brought me to Texas 26 years ago has RSVP’d that he and his wife plan are coming to the wedding. My whole family is looking forward to seeing him for the first time in more than a decade.
My greatest regret is that some of my favorite people of all time won’t be here for this wedding. Dad died a few years before Hannah got married more than a decade ago. Uncle Chuck and Aunt Norma as well as Uncle Joe and Aunt Marilyn were all here for the first wedding, but have all died since them. They’ll be missed, as well. Our girls always loved visits with my aunts and uncles.
But that’s OK. As I was seeing my daughters grow into young women, I began to understand the joy and the pride that comes from being part of an older generation. I began to understand why so many of my elders seemed happy with their lot in life even when their lot might not have seemed the greatest.
People look at me today and wonder how I can be so joyful. Yes, the wedding that draws nigh is one great reason for my outlook, but it goes much deeper than that. Our lot in life might not look like the greatest right now, but I don’t think Margie and I could be much more joyful. Sure, there are times when the pressures of figuring out how to make ends meet can try our psyches, but we let those moments come and then let them pass because we understand just how much we have been blessed in our lifetimes and how we will continue to be blessed in the years to come.