Younger than springtime

The thing about growing up as the youngest kid in a big family is that you always have a tendency to see yourself as the youngest in every situation– maybe not consciously, but it’s in there. Whatever group of people I find myself in, I automatically assume I am among the more youthful demographic in the room. I’m not delusional, it’s not like I’m unaware of my age, it’s just kind of a mindset. Maybe it’s that birth order thing, maybe it marks and defines me more than I ever thought. My parents are now 92 and though I am obviously a grown-ass woman, I’m still referred to as the baby of the family. I’m strangely ok with that.

I married at 20, and when we moved to Nashville and started our lives here we were surrounded by people older than that, so I felt like ‘the new bride’ longer than I had any right to. When Russ and I entered the music business, he was hired as the youngest singer in a group of older guys, and then after a few years he went solo, so career-wise we were the new kids on the block for quite a while. Also, we waited 15 years before we had kids, so I went through that new mom phase later than most. What I’m saying here is that I have a skewed sense of how old I really am– and since I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, sometimes it really surprises me to realize that these days I’m quite often the OLDEST one in any given situation.

Especially in the world of moms. Since I turned 50– or as we like to call it around here just because it freaks my kids out, “The Half-Century Mark”– I have finally started to notice that the mothers at my girls’ schools are almost universally younger than I am. Sometimes by a little, sometimes, like, I could have breastfed them. What’s weird is that it doesn’t seem to bother me. Should it? Should I be kind of embarrassed or apologetic that I’m this old? I see them as my peer group, we’re all just moms raising kids the same age, trying to figure it all out and not screw it up too much. My mother had me when she was 40, just like I had Charlotte when I was 40. I don’t remember noticing a big difference between her and my friend’s moms. She certainly didn’t try to dress or look younger than her age, she just always blended in with everybody else. What did I know, I was a kid and all mom and dads looked alike– old!

There isn’t really a big point to this, or profound conclusion I’m trying to draw here. You’d think that since I’m this long in the tooth, pithy bits of wisdom would just be flying out of me, right? Apparently you’d be wrong! I guess my point is simply that the older I’m getting, the more I’m realizing that age is relative. The numbers are what they are, but there are some choices in how you view them. You can be an old young person, or a young older person, it’s kind of up to you. I do know that I never want to be one of those desperately-clinging-to-my-faded youth kind of moms, with a too-taut face and an over-exercised body crammed into too-youthful clothes. Ok, actually I kind of would, but I don’t think I could successfully pull it off, and if I tried to, Madi would laugh her head off and possibly kill me in my sleep. So I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’ve always done– try to look ‘good for my age’, continue to hang out with friends both older than I am and younger than I am, and remember not to introduce myself as the baby of my family. That kind of creeps people out when you’re at The Half-Century Mark.

Here we are as 36 (me) and 39 (Russ) year-old new parents with Madi Rose, and yes, we are cute as bunnies.

Tori and Russ holding the newborn Madi Rose Taff.

9 Responses

  1. Barbara M. Lloyd

    I remember that feeling. When Jimmie graduated from college and started working, it seemed we were always the young couple in the group….and it felt kinda good. It wasn’t until our third little one was born that I lost that younger-than-anyone-else feeling…and I kinda missed it, looking back now. Ages all seemed to mesh together in the thong of motherhood.

    Now I am at a time in life when I find myself, as I look around so often, to be the oldest in the group. Truthfully, I much prefer the younger feeling. Even so, the Lord has blessed me with rather terrific younger-than-I friends, so the grass is still pretty green on this side of the fence.

  2. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oh, but I often look back longingly on those days raising our children. I absolutely have always loved being a mom….and those years are so precious.

    The photo of the little Taff family is adorable.

  3. themema

    How can one think they are not the baby when at her prom she looked 13, and as a new mother at 39, she looked 19! And now, at 39 plus 14 she is cute as a button with smooth, silky skin, long blond hair, slender, perky, vivacious, and a lot of other positive adjectives can describe her.

    Wow, I bet there are few Mom’s in Madi Rose or Char’s class that LOOK AS GOOD AS YOU DO.

    As for me, I have several friends who I constantly ask if my hair style and color is ok for my age, if my clothes are appropriate for my age, and if my make up look like it was put on by a blind person. And if I ever find they are not truthful with me, they will cease to be my friend.

  4. gracelynn

    Well I’ve always given people the impression that I am older than I truly am. Guess it was because of my childhood and having grown up practically alone. Even at 12 years old, people thought I was at least 15 or more. LOL And my poor godchild is going through the same thing, bless her heart. She is so much like me – I always wanted to sit with the adults rather than run around with kids my age. Jordan is just like that too. It doesn’t help when you teach and the kids ask you how old you are, you tell them the truth, and they don’t believe you. ROTFLMBO They cannot believe I’m only about 20 years older than they are. Guess the “teacher” mentality is that we are all a bunch of old women with nothing better to do than try to force these poor, defenseless children actually learn something useful.

    And themema, you are so right. Tori doesn’t look at day over 19 in that picture! They look so cute too. And she still looks so young and full of youthful energy is an understatement! Wish I had half the energy you do Tori!

  5. tori

    I want to marry all of you.

  6. belinda

    I remember when I first started working oh so many years ago, I was always the youngest person at the office. Well tables have turned a lot and now I’m in the group who are the older ones and we have all of this young ones around the office. I have been in this business longer than some of them have been alive. Wow, that really makes me sound old.

    I have never had a problem with age until my 40th birthday and that was a tough day, after I got over it, no problems. I have not hit that 50 mark yet, but it is creeping up on me faster than I would like for it to. We are still young at heart and I think that makes all the difference in the world. If you act younger, you feel and look younger?

    That is a sweet picture and I agree with the others, Tori you look great.

  7. LindaB

    That’s funny you should mention age and aging—–I was just watching Cher on Entertainment Tonight, and I can’t believe she’s two years OLDER than I am!!! TWO YEARS! And Lord knows, she looks a heck of lot younger than I do! She was singing “If I Could Turn Back Time”!!!! LOL She sure has managed to turn back time where her body is concerned! She told a little about her exercise regiment and whew! There’s just no way!!! I don’t do “running” anymore—-except maybe to the bathroom!

    Then I gotta think, what’s the sense in getting down to the last few years of your life and spending hours of it exercising to extend your life a few more years so you can exercise even more…….unless, of course you really get a thrill out of perspiring, struggling for breath, and getting a “thigh” rash on the treadmill. And I worry about using the treadmill while I’m here alone! What if I had a heart attack while I’m on it and there’s no one here to call 911? And can you imagine collapsing on the treadmill and the moving track throws you across the room? My family would get home and start looking for me, and find me across the room far away from the treadmill, and not know how I died!!! They’d be saying stuff like, “If she had just used that treadmill over there a little more, she’d be alive today!”

    Okay, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, Tori is fifty, looks like 30, and has the energy of a 2 year old! And she’s so nice! I remember the one time I met you, Tori, and when you bounced into the room, all I could think of was Tigger!!! You’re the personification of Tigger! I think you’d be the “youngest” one in the room about anywhere you went—–even a meeting of the mom’s in your school! I was a grandmother raising our granddaughter throughout her school years. As I sat there at her basketball games with all those young mothers, I knew what they were thinking——-“I hope our kids win this one,” and “Where can we go afterward to celebrate?” While I was thinking, “I hope my joints don’t freeze up and I can’t get down off these bleachers”! And, “If I have to pee, how fast can I descend these bleachers without hurting anyone”? But I had fun!

    Age is just numbers, really! One of the youngest people I know is MommaLloyd! She just tries to disguise her age with that beautiful white hair, but I am not fooled!

  8. belinda

    This just happened and I have to share it with you ladies. Troy and I were on our nightly wal-mart run and we were standing in line waiting to check out. I kept looking at the lady in front of us, knowing I knew her from somewhere. After she finished checking out she turned to us and said “It is about time you two start showing your age like me. I have watched you two all around town for years and you both look just as young as you did the first time I saw you.” Talk about a compliment I wanted to go around and hug that dear woman. So Troy ask her how old she thought he was and she said mid to late 30’s. Troy is 51 and she turned to me and said you are a lot younger than him. I really wanted to hug her at that point. So I guess all of those 10 million anti aging creams are working? I walked out of there with a strut :) Going to get put my nightly creams on :)

  9. LindaB

    That is a sweet sweet baby there!!!! I love babies!

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