Wednesday, September 24, 2003

The Aging Factor

There's been a lot in the news lately about the scientific community's research on aging. If they can identify the factors that make people age, scientists say it will make a big step toward longer lives for all of us.

At the risk of putting a lot of scientists out of work, there's really no big mystery. Having kids causes old age. I don't have a lot of studies, charts, and analytical data to support that. All I do is offer myself as "Exhibit A".

Once upon a time I was a young lady. I had a figure, and my joints did not protest with movement. Then my first child was born and I became an old woman.

My back went first.

This came from from loading 700 pounds of baby equipment into the trunk of the car every time we took a trip that lasted longer than half an hour. After 8,000 miles of horsey-back rides across the kitchen floor, I had blisters on my palms, calluses on my knees and sway in my spine.

Those weren't really age spots on my hands and forearms. They were Sani-Flush stains from reaching into toilets to rescue combs, Lincoln Logs, and Fisher-Price people. After a while I got used to walking around with one sleeve permanently rolled up, but I'm still trying to get over the effects of having to give mouth-to-mouth to a Baby Tears.

The more kids I had, the older I got. All my life I had 20/20 vision. But by the time I had assisted on the first few hundred book reports that didn't get started until the night before they were due because "nobody told me about it," I was making weekly visits to an optometrist.

My only consolation is that now these children have children of their own.

Now, they're older than I am!

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