Bittersweet Birthdays

Isn't that the most innocent face?
Isn’t that the most innocent face?

My baby boy was born at a few minutes after midnight twenty years ago.

Just typing those words encouraged another gray hair to emerge – right in my part, of course!

Remember when you were five? People would ask, “How old are you?” and you always said, “Five and a half” if it was the day after your birthday or “Almost six” if your birthday was six months or less away.

What were we thinking? That the next age would offer us something the current one did not. The curse of youth is that we don’t realize how fleeting it is until it has taken wing and flown far away.

When we were ten, we couldn’t wait to be twelve. Once we got to twelve, we wanted to be a teenager. At thirteen, sixteen seemed the age when real freedom would be attained. Once we had that driver’s license, we wanted to be eighteen so we could “go where we want whenever we want and not have to do what anyone says.”

Yeah, right! The irony of adulthood – the freedom it promises to those dominated by parental control is just a chain of a different sort. Adulthood: bills, jobs, problems and responsibilities. All that stuff our parents handled for us while we were whining about enjoying our youth, it falls on our shoulders now.

Leaving teenagerhood behind to conquer the world
Leaving teenagerhood behind to conquer the world

My baby is no longer a teenager. He bemoaned this at church camp last year, when he was still weeks away from nineteen and very much a teenager. The leaders wanted him to be in charge of things. He just wanted to be one of the kids.

Get used to that feeling, son, it’s coming your way more frequently as your age number increases.

After college, the fun and games of youth become the drudgery and responsibility of adulthood.

Welcome to my world.

What birthday did you look forward to the most? Which one did you dread?

3 thoughts on “Bittersweet Birthdays

  1. It is funny how the numbers game works. I listen to my kids all the time wishing they were older (oldest is 15 youngest is 7) and I remind them everyday not to wish their life away. I think 25 was the best birthday for me. 40 was probably the most dreaded. Now that I’m over that I take the rest in stride. I figure it is only a number right? (oh and those gray hairs are a bugger!) Great post!

    1. Cynthia-
      Thanks for contributing to the conversation. Time runs swiftly. When we’re kids, we just don’t understand that because time is a slug and the next birthday always seems like it will be better.
      I loved my 30s because I felt so healthy then, but my 40s have seen me more confident. I’m sure the 50s (can I believe I’m even mentioning this) will provide joys and surprises I can’t imagine at this place in my life.
      –Sharon

  2. Love looking at pictures of the kids when they were younger, then it is a huge reminder that we are all getting older! When did looking forward to the next birthday become,” I wish time would slow down and , great! not ANOTHER birthday !”! It’s time for another school year already! Didn’t summer just start last week?

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