48 x 24
Today is my birthday. Most of the time I don’t make a big deal out of this day, I see it simply as the day after yesterday and the day before tomorrow. But this year it is bugging me, a little.
Bugging me because I am now 48 and my son is 24 and that makes me exactly twice his age.
Why is that bugging me? Part of it is simply the implication of aging that comes along with it, but I think the other part is me, thinking back to when I was 24.
Back then, being 24 was so much different than being 24 is now. And I wonder about that, too.
I got married (the first time) the day after I turned nineteen. And then a few years later I went to college, and while I was in college I got pregnant with my son, (you know about green m&ms, right?) and he was conveniently born during January break, and I went back to finish my last semester when he was just a few weeks old.
Thank goodness that my mom was able to care for him while I was at school, and then later, at work.
And at the end of that semester, when I had a photo in the student art show and my husband and my tiny baby son came to see me there, at the opening, he threw up all down the front of my brand new suit. But now that I think about, it was a really ugly suit.
In that year, the year my son was born, I had a baby, graduated college, bought a car, got my first job and bought a house. It was a big year, a year filled with change, the year I turned 24.
And this year, while he was 24, my son graduated from college and got his first job. But he’s not married and he didn’t just have a baby and he still needs to buy a car and buying a house will probably come much, much later.
Times change and I look back at myself and I say, “how did we do it?” Times change and I look at my kids now as they embark on their lives and I say, “how will they do it?”
But it will be the same for them and for their children and on and on and on.
We all do it, we get through this life and we walk through all these milestones and we make our mistakes and one day, we are twice our children’s age.
So on this day as I turn 48, I am thinking about 24 years worth of life. His and mine, all bound up together, the parts of mine that started when he was born, the parts of his he has yet to experience. 24 years of laughter and tears, hope and disappointments, love and joy and so much wonder. All that growth, for both of us, marked by the endless, uncaring passage of time.
The spring after we moved to this house, when he was one, we planted a row of trees along one edge of the property, tiny little twigs that would grow up to be pines. Over the past couple of years, for unknown reasons, they have all died.
But I am thinking that this might be the year to plant new ones.
Originally, there were 12.
But this time, we might have to go for 24.