I have been 50 for about six weeks, and apart from my new AARP membership and some occasional incontinence, I haven’t really considered myself old. That is until recently. My baby turned 18!
Eighteen. She can now vote, buy Powerball tickets and be incarcerated. But enough about her. More significantly, I technically no longer have “children,” only four adults whom I miraculously grew, birthed and kept alive for two decades. I’m no longer required (or in some cases even allowed) to be present at their doctor’s appointments, and I can’t help them access their bank accounts, even though much of that money originated with me. I’m cut off, kicked out, essentially exorcised from their lives. The power of HIPAA compels me!
I may be overreacting, but my youngest’s birthday has caused me to contemplate my near-elderly status like nothing else has. Where has the time gone? I know if I sat down and thought about it, I could probably remember most of her milestones – her first word, step, school bus ride, dance competition, fender bender – but seriously, how does a kid’s life speed by so quickly even as the days of parenting often seem an eternity? And what does this mean for the next 18 years? What will I do when she becomes gainfully employed? If she gets married? Has a beautiful child of her own? Oh, lord!
We measure our lives in experiences, I suppose, not revolutions around the sun. Fifty doesn’t mean that much to me; it’s just a fire hazard-worth of cake candles. But witnessing your baby officially enter adulthood is another matter entirely. Friends, I feel old!