I am most proud of how my daughters have grown into the women they are today – as mothers they are loving, conscientious, devoted and fun. This is the most rewarding thing for me to see because I believe, being a mother is truly the most serious and important work you can do – far more than any other job out there. How many other jobs affect 2 generations down the line? But, before our girls became wives and mothers, both my husband and I were very proud of the independent, productive, well-balanced individuals they had become.
I know and value the role we play in the family and in the wider world as well. We are the nurturers, the peacemakers and peacekeepers. We know how to multi-task all day, no matter what we are doing. I think women have an amazing capacity to accomplish so much. We are strong and fierce but tender and loving as well.
Your 20’s are hugely significant because, for the first time, you really have your freedom…. no more school schedules, teachers or parents hovering over you. Now you can decide things for yourself. It’s scary but exhilarating. I loved being on my own. My 20 something self was a bit reckless and very anxious to try new things and take on the world. I loved my independence. I learned that actions have consequences – not all of my decisions were good–but, that’s the point… it’s where the real learning begins.
I made a lot of mistakes – that’s the time to do it, no one is depending on you and mistakes are important because you learn from them – but I made a lot of good choices, too. Whatever happened, I wanted to stand on my own and not ask for help. I learned a lot from my job, too. I was lucky enough to work for two different women – in an office full of women – who were smart, sensitive, successful role models. One of the most important lessons of all that I learned at that first job was to set my priorities – see those clearly and then organize my time around them. That lesson has stayed with me for my whole life.
When I turned 40 I thought – what else was there – what a ridiculous notion. In fact, I remember going for a walk with a neighbor and very dear friend around the time of my birthday. She was very cool in many ways and about 15-20 years older than me. When I shared with her how I felt about turning 40 she literally laughed at me and pointed out how much of my life was yet to be lived. She was a fabulous role model too – very chic, well-traveled, raised 6 children and had a fun loving husband. She just died about five years ago in her late 80’s – what a great life she had. I once read a quote that I thought was so wonderful and you get it the longer you live: “growing older is a privilege, not a curse”.
I have a lot of them – seems like I spent a lot of time being proud and truly enjoying the company of my girls. Our girls were not too challenging or difficult as they were growing up, and I was always grateful for that. But, this is not about what didn’t happen, it’s about the fact that our daughters were accomplished, loving and respectful to us as parents and fun to be around and grew up to be such nice people… among many other things. I consider myself an extremely lucky mom because of how close and supportive we are to each other… in the good times and bad.
What’s not to love–this is the best time ever!! Just when parts of your body don’t work as well as they used to and all the rest of the stuff that goes with aging – along come these fabulous little creatures that literally are there for you to love as much as you possibly can and the best part is, they love you right back. Grandchildren are the definition of pure joy and love. It is the reward for all those years of the relentless hard work of parenting and housework.
Our goal as a couple is to be healthy – after that anything is possible. Because now, like in our 20’s, we have our freedom back – decisions are made not because we have to but, because we want to do something. I want to continue to enjoy and be grateful for the life I have for as long as I have it. I spent most of my adult life serving others as a community volunteer and I hope to continue to do that… it is so rewarding.
The breadth and depth of my children’s accomplishments. I am awestruck at the way they manage the complexity of their lives as spouses, parents, friends, daughters and sons, and how they have grown into some of the most decent and interesting people that I am so proud to have in my life. They truly are an inspiration.
Resisting cultural and family pressures to conform to a very narrow definition of what a woman should be in the 1950’s in Belgium. I held onto my dreams to explore the world and to continue developing my own interests. I accomplished that with my Dad’s support and a loving husband who shared that view.
Don’t settle down too quickly, explore, experience, be a bit on the wild side. Some things are meant to be done when you are twenty and settling down is not one of them.
This may be the time to reinvent oneself and reevaluate where the next twenty years will lead to. What new things can one explore or what old dreams as yet unfulfilled can one dig up and revisit and make happen?
The happiest memories always have to do with being together as a family, whether around the dining room table or on a vacation or special holiday. Nothing trumps togetherness and the sharing of experiences — it is binding.
Very much the same as a mom. It is being together with them and watching each grandchild developing their own personality, growing up from little babies to little persons and now that they are older there is the added pleasure of watching them interact when they are together. Can’t wait for those get together times, they are the best.
To stay fully engaged in life. To achieve this goal I have started to mentor students and I just started my first online course to become certified as a navigator for the ACA (Affordable HealthCare Act). But my most important goal and wish is to continue being a part of my children and grandchildren’s life.