How do you picture yourself? Are you still 20-something, full of vim and vigor and ready to take on the world?
Do you see yourself as more prim and proper than other people your own age? Maybe you see yourself as the young parent you are, but you’re wondering if your time will ever again become your own.
It’s an interesting question and I suspect there are as many answers as there are people to answer the question.
I’ve always pictured myself as someone who stopped aging when I graduated from high school. I always had the energy to do more, to keep going, and never slow down.
Last weekend proved to me just how wrong my vision was.
We moved our youngest daughter, Pitt, from one apartment to another as she gets ready to start her final semester (I hope) at N.C. State. Just a year ago she moved into this second-floor apartment. On Saturday, she moved out of that apartment into a first-floor apartment several miles away.
I was responsible, along with Michael Frost – the boyfriend of Pitt’s sister, Anna Kate – for moving all the heavy stuff. Michael really is a young 20-something. Quickly we got the mattress and box springs out. Then a dresser. Then another dresser. Then another dresser. (Why she had to have three dressers is beyond me, but that’s a topic for another time.) Then came a hope chest, which was apparently so full of hopes I could barely lift it.
After several of these trips, I watched as Michael bounded up the steps ahead of me, taking them two at a time. I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell he was doing running up those steps.
At several points, I had to stop and rest, take a drink and catch my second wind.
Though I was struggling to keep up, we were blessed with relatively cool weather, and the short break between apartments gave me a chance to calm my quivering muscles just a bit.
During the trip over, I vowed not to let Michael show me up again in the stamina department. So I wisely stood just inside the moving van and pulled items to the back of the van and handed them to others, reducing the number of trips I would have to make in and out the front door.
I was thankful that the move into the new apartment was much easier. We parked much closer to the front door, and with just a few steps from the parking lot to the apartment, we had the moving van unloaded quickly. I managed to uphold my stamina charade long enough to fulfill my paternal obligations. After that, I was all about sitting in a chair in the apartment and doing little odds and ends tasks as assigned by my daughter.
It was an eye-opening weekend. I’ve always marveled at my father, who at 78, still farms and hasn’t slowed down much at all until about the last year. I always figured it would be one of those like-father, like-son things and that I’d be old and gray before manual labor wore me out. Saturday taught me how wrong I was.