Last night was the quasi-monthly meeting of the bookclub to which I belong. Wait, I think I should restate that…of which I am a member. That is more accurate, as after last night I’m not so sure about the belonging part. The book we read was, The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan. It was a memoir about the author’s and her father’s bouts of cancer which took place roughly at the same time. Actually it was kind of a love letter to her father. As such it was very well done. Never mind that I didn’t really like either the author or her father. The book was a quick read and is well written.
What it is also about is the time in life when you are someone’s mother and someone’s daughter at the same time. You are in the “middle place.” Before I go further I should say that I am the age of the other club members’ parents. All but me are in their mid to late thirties. Usually that isn’t an issue, except that they are all best friends as well and I’m just a fringe bookclub member. But that’s okay. The books are always good and I like the women in the group. I’m just a lot older. I was invited to join by one of the original members who has been my friend since we went through student teaching together a long time ago.
Last night as we discussed the book, someone said that “we” are all in the same place as the author of the book, which isn’t true for me, but NBD. Eventually the zinger dropped. “My dad just turned 60 this weekend. He’s healthy and active, but really, if he got sick and died now, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. He’s older, he’s lived a good life. He’s not raising little kids.” While I totally get the kids part, and I can’t imagine not living to raise one’s children, I’m definitely not in agreement with the other part. She’s talking about my peer, and I don’t feel that the part about being done and ready to go now. I have not yet looked at my life in that way. I still see myself as having a lot of things left to do. I’m not even thinking of retiring yet. Frankly, the comment just creeped me out. Made me wonder why I was there. Or if I should return. But I’ll get over it. As long as the books are good.