It crept in, slowly. I saw it coming, due largely to the number of years and the lines around my eyes that have rapidly deepened and multiplied on a scale of drugstore eye cream to pricing cosmetic procedures.
Age. The kind that comes with adulthood.
I showed someone a picture of myself taken about four years ago and they gaped – they thought it was an older picture. I look much older now than I did four years ago. I was just under 40, I shrugged. Forty was the magic age for me – the crossroads of youth and old age. At 40 I took a hard right and am currently cruising toward the sunset of adult diapers.
I felt much younger back then, too.
When kids are small it’s easy for parents to feel young. Drowning in half-eaten chicken nuggets and flattened juice pouches, stepping on Legos and locating Barbie shoes – these things keep the years away. I embraced a life of Little League and hot dogs for dinner twice a week, planned trips to the zoo as if the zoo was my preferred destination and bought $12 bags of cotton candy at Disney on Ice because COTTON CANDY.
The kids got older. We got rid of the toys, painted over jungle- and fairy-themed walls in bedrooms, and went from play dates and tucking in at night to I’m getting a ride to practice and we’re out of frozen pizzas and I need new razors.
The seriousness of their burgeoning adulthood is written all over my face and felt deeply in my soul. Their murmurings about high school, then college, then life away from here have turned into real conversations.
As they prepare to enter my world, I am more – adult. I no longer teach how to tie shoes but how to navigate disappointment in a healthy way. I watch them fall, and explain myself more. Contribute heavily to discussions about evolutionary theory and the use of credit.
We are maturing, together.
Motherhood is a total symbiosis – when they were talking about poop and telling fart jokes, I was right there with them, slapping my knee and laughing just as loud. There were living room dance parties. Now I’m sharing what it means to be a parent and they’re telling me why Warren Buffett is so wealthy. We’ve always taught each other, but now they’re aware of it.
I’ve always hated when people groan and complain about age, how old they are. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number, baby, I’d think. And then just the other day I said “I’m too old for this” like my AARP card-carrying elders.
I’ve caught up to adulthood. I don’t feel young anymore, and that’s okay. There are still plenty of people in my life who snappily remind me how young I am, that my kids are still home, that this time of life is fleeting, to enjoy every moment. Hey man, that’s cool.
Letting go of youth is a relief. Adulthood is no disco, but it can be sweet. There is always something new to discover and learn, whether or not children are present. That’s the freedom of life at any age.
This post inspired by:
Prompt #1: A moment you realized you were a grown up.