Tuesday, November 01, 2011

For Adults Only

 Amazing–I couldn’t play the piano BEFORE my husband died…
Traveling alone feels natural to me now.  How did that happen?  It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote Three in a Row, a moment in my book that describes how foreign it felt to me to be the odd one in a row of three sitting on an airplane.  In part it reads:
“I looked over at the seat next to me and saw a woman my age resting her head on her husband’s shoulder.  The only arm I had to rest on was the armrest, and I was sure all eyes were on poor widow me.  I stood to stretch, and scanned the rows of people, three across.  A couple and an odd one were in each row.  Now I’m the odd one.  Then I saw a row where no one seemed to know each other.  I guess people do travel alone…I just never thought about it before, like so many other things.  Being cozily married had, in some ways, kept me insulated and smug.”
My crackerjack editor, Randi Cushnir, warned me that a reader might have a hard time believing that a woman who is past the ‘age of awareness’ (I think legally that’s seven) counted on a husband to print out her boarding pass and she needed his engineering skills to finesse 15 pairs of shoes, 4 pocketbooks and 9 outfits into her carry-on.
Randi didn’t feel it was in my best interest that I project a clueless and helpless image. I get it.  And, she was right 95% of the time with that kind of stuff.  Yet, in my travels (alone)  I’ve talked to dozens of widows who admit that they finally feel self-sufficient and capable for the first time in their 60-something lives.   They are excited to participate in life as an adult.
They also revealed to me they are enjoying ‘something’ more than ever.  I am sorry that I can’t share what that ‘something’  is because I’m sworn to secrecy.  Hint: rhymes with Rex.
Perhaps that was off-track.  The point is many of us baby boomers who got married young stayed babies.  When our husbands died we were suddenly lifted out of our highchairs and plopped into the driver’s seat.
Of course initially our heads spun around but in time we saw there is no denying that Cabernet tastes much better from a wine glass than a sippy cup.
A toast:  ”To being a grown-up.”