I have begun to learn an unfortunate truth: The Middle Ages are not the period in time that our teachers stuffed our brains with, rather they are the years between becoming an adult and becoming empty-nesters. For those of you in your thirties and forties without children of your own, this will all be slightly above your ability to comprehend, but feel free to read it... Then go on about your business, but know that some people are dealing with The Middle Ages very differently than others.
In The Middle Ages, you have smallish children. Children who are still quite in need of your daily attention and care. Children who inevitably require feeding, clothing, bathing, disciplining, teaching, the occasional trip to the doctor, an ow-ey washed and bandaged, a hug to make it better, and many more surprises in life.
In The Middle Ages, you may also have aging parents or grandparents. In my family, we have a history of starting our families while we are quite young, so I grew up with all of my grandparents and a great-grandparent. We are now down to the aging grandparents on my side of the family, and we are really struggling through this time. When we lost my husband's mother to cancer, it was a terrible, painfully heart-wrenching time. But it was not an aging process. It was cancer. I cannot begin to imagine people who deal with aging parents while raising young children.
The Middle Ages are fraught with tension as parenting collides with respectful attention to the aging. Does anyone really handle these years well? Is there any one way to deal with them? All we can do is persevere, knowing that there are no absolutes, but rather that we are dealing with people. People with emotions, needs, desires, memories. People who deserve to be honored, both the young in their ambitious trek to fulfill the ultimate goal of adulthood and the aging in their inevitable walk toward something infinitely more peaceful that what they leave behind.
I ask only that God grant me the peace and wisdom He promises to all of us if we but ask. I will need wisdom in my actions and choices from this point forward, and in balancing the two seemingly opposing worlds of mother and child. I will require the peace for what is to come. For no matter how many times the platitudes are spoken when someone passes, knowing my dear loved-one is in a better place does not ease my pain in the missing of them here on Earth.
May God be with us in our Middle Ages.