In my children’s shadow

The thing the don’t tell you about becoming middle age is the becoming invisible to the world and self-sacrificing to the family.

Middle age is being thrown into a swirling tide of teenage hormones pushing you in all kinds of emotional and physical directions mostly involving a car. Middle age is when you start checking yourself for keys, ‘to do’ lists, reading glasses and ominous lumps.  Middle age is staring into the faces of your crumbling and aging parents and realising that they can’t do your baby sitting anymore.

When was the last time anyone took particular notice of me? When was I last congratulated, admired or rewarded? Somebody, surely must have said ‘well done’ when I earned a place at  a university. Or was it with the achievement of my undergraduate degree, the first proper job, a nice steady boyfriend, becoming engaged, getting married and having a baby? Of course I was congratulated then. I have cards and pictures to prove it. Being in the cherished limelight is special and unfortgetable and it encouraged me to do my best.

That being congratulated from the first time you held a spoon and fed yourself, tied your own shoe laces, wrote a poem, took exams and passed your driving test it makes mums pretty good at remembering to congratulate their own offspring and others.

For years now I’ve beat myself up for being a bad mother and a less than dedicated employee;  for eating too much, for lacking self-discipline, for having no interest in exercise or energy for sex (or is it the other way around?).

Then in just in one week I stood in the shadows and watched each of my children stand in their own spotlights. They each experienced something rare that should make them feel as special as I know they are.

One received a standing ovation as part of his school’s singing and signing choir at the Hall for Cornwall.

One shook the hand of the next in line to the throne.


The third tonight touched Ed Coode‘s Olympic gold rowing medal from Athens 2004  and received a Science medal of his own as the best in his school.

Middle age is when you accept it’s time to stand aside and let the next generation through.

Pondhu School medal winners and class teacher

This wasn’t written as such, but it seems to fit, so I’ve made it an entry for the #PGRaisingOlympians Celebrate Their Success Linky

4 thoughts on “In my children’s shadow

  1. Jessica, congratulations on all the recent successes you’ve had in your family. But I’m not ready to count you out yet – you’ve got loads of new highs to look forward to, middle age be damned.

  2. Thank you for the boost, Jennifer. I’m sure you’re right and I’m not ready to give up yet! But for the moment I’m going to stop trying to scrabble for the podium and enjoy basking in my kids’ reflected glory instead.

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