Is It (Really, Really) Hot In Here, Or Is It Just Me?

by Abigail Schildcrout

It had been a while since we had gone outside, and the garden and lawn offensive. We were out there for hours and filled six yard waste bags. It felt great. Neighborhood property values rebounded to where they should be.

But on Sunday, it hurt every time I moved. Arms hurt. Legs hurt. Shoulders hurt. Back hurt. My husband felt the same way. The kids were completely fine (and yes, they had worked the entire time with us).

So I woke up today and headed into the clinic where I am a doctor to see patients as usual. I had survived the introductory temperature dysregulation of perimenopause. I had survived the physical consequences of the war with the weeds, and I was feeling significantly less sore. I arrived early, ready to start my day, and chatted a bit with one of the medical assistants in the office. She was talking about her son, 3 years old, and I asked to see a picture. She showed me a photo on her phone. I remarked on the child’s cuteness.

Then the medical assistant asked me if I had any children or grandchildren of my own, and that was the first time in my life I had been asked if I had grandchildren. I very, very, very much want grandchildren in my future, and I am in my mid-40s, certainly old enough to be a grandmother. But I’ll let your imagination go where it may on what you think some of the thoughts running through my head might have been in response to that question.

I frequently tell my kids how I love each stage of life that I’ve reached, that life keeps getting richer and better as I age. This is how I feel deep down inside. I have earned every hot flash (although I’d be happy if they didn’t return), every gray hair and every wimpy muscle that rebels after a few hours ripping out weeds. I’ve made peace with the fact that it has been years since I’ve been carded. I’m delighted to be in the no-drama, don’t-take-crap-from-anyone phase of life.

But I would advise people to ask me about my children. When I do have grandchildren, I would politely ask that you react in surprise to such news and remark on how young I look to be a grandmother.

And please turn up the air-conditioning.