When my cousin lost his job, his wife and I walked through Central Park and voiced a mutual desire for the company of someone older than us. In a time of financial insecurity—in a city they estimate will lose 181,000 jobs this year—we wanted someone who had already had a career to say something along the lines of, “yes, I remember when I lost my job…it was okay.” Or, “yes, things were tight for a long time…it was okay.”

It’s why I loved Louise’s very first post on this blog. Self-proclaimed a “woman of a certain age,” Louise put the economic crisis (that Nancy Pelosi caused*) into perspective. All I’m saying is that I want Louise and her friends to come over for dinner and say things like my surrogate Grandma Jane used to say to me.

Jane: How are you?

Me: Sad. I just broke up with a boy.

Jane: There will be dozens more. How’s school?

Don’t misunderstand. I know the value of the friends my age who are more than willing to don black and wander about like the some lost Byronic hero in an effort to commiserate. I know very well the value of a grasshopper chocolate pie, courtesy of my girlfriends, at two in the morning.  But there are also times when I think what I really need is an hour with someone in a different stage of life.

Maybe we all feel it. Like the older man the baby and I met at the grocery store last month. “How old is she?” he asked. I told him her first birthday was the next day and he asked if she was having a party. “Can I come? I need to be in a room full of one-year olds,” he said.

Perhaps it’s one of the gifts of parenting. Intimacy with another phase of life tends to provoke perspective. I’m thinking about all of this because on Monday morning, Levi and I got some bad news. 

Right when we were figuring it all out, little Adelaide was throwing her head back with this obscene and fake laughter that cracks her up. Then she started taking things out of the garbage can and bringing them to us one by one. Nodding furiously all the while. She spent her morning giggling and babbling and taking the edge out of all the sadness we were trying to nurture.

I think the next time life gets hard and someone asks if there is anything they can do, I’ll ask for a room of octogenarians or one-year olds.  Preferably both.

*first person to get it wins a text from Sarah; something that repeatedly requires the use of the 4 key