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.

13 Responses to “48 x 24”

  • Laurie Jacobsen Says:

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Mediocrity!!! In a few short years I will be in your same shoes, 48 with a 24 year old. I never thought about it until now. Enjoy your day, special lady!

  • Liz Says:

    Today is the start of your new year. Planting trees is a wonderful goal. I am celebrating you because my life is just that much more beautiful having you in it. I love you.

  • Debi Says:

    Happy birthday! Measuring your years against a child grown to man, reliving your own past at his age – I can’t imagine. I remember it from the other way round, my mom laughing when she turned 40 and I was 20.

    The year you were 24 was a year filled with not only changes, but bravery. I have a feeling 48 will be also – changes lying in wait, good ones, courage to see them through, words to illustrate them (for which I am exceedingly grateful.) You are a wonderful woman and I wish you wonderful things and a wonderful day today. Blow out those candles and make wishes – you are allowed more than one. xoxo

  • Kate Says:

    What a beautiful, winsome post here. Yes, I think I would go for the 24 trees this time.
    Happy Birthday to you, fellow Sagittarian. I turned 54 (gasp) on the 25th and was so busy with Thanksgiving that I nearly forgot all about it.

    And hey, this photo is really cool.

  • Graciel @ Evenstar Art Says:

    happy birthday, beautiful soul. 🙂 truly, you’ve had a lot of life in your life so far. what a blessing for you and what a blessing for us, your online fan club, to soak in.

    love and a small fire extinguisher on stand by for your cake ;),

  • Kathryn Says:

    Beautiful reflective post. Happy Birthday, may it be all you wish for and so much more.

  • beth Says:

    oh oh oh…..happy happy happy birthday to youuuuuuuu ~~~

    {sung in my best singing voice ever}

    oh and, my hubby turns 48 on monday 🙂

    and yes, things are different…..my oldest will be 23 in february and at 23 i had graduated from technical school, been married 3 years, delivered her, moved 4 times which included 5 states….YIKES…how did we do it, we ask ourselves…..
    but we did, didn’t we !!!

  • Nana Says:

    Don’t let 48 get you down, be thankful for it , live the day ,the moment and cherish all the “days” to come.

  • Marcie Says:

    Happy Happy Birthday (one day late)!!! Things are so different these days – with our kids. Altho we were fully adult at their age..they are mostly still emerging!!!

  • joanna jenkins Says:

    I’m late to wish you a very happy birthday. I hope it was grand.
    This was a wonderful post– times have changed…
    Cheers, jj

  • Amy @ Never-True Tales Says:

    I loved reading this, probably because it rings so true to me. I was married at 20, had my first baby at 23 (having JUST barely graduated). I juggled new motherhood with new marriage and a new job and new adulthood in general, and I look back and wonder how I did it, too. I hope my kids take it slower than I did with the marriage/family thing, but if they don’t, at least I’ll know they can manage, because I did.

  • Carrie Says:

    Happy Birthday! You are such a talented writer. I could see this piece in a magazine. Do you ever submit your stuff to any publications? I enjoyed your reflection as always.

  • wholly jeanne Says:

    well this is just beautiful, and a unique, enjoyable way to reflect on a birthday. if i were better at math and able to figure out how old i am and all that other stuff, i’d copy you. as for the trees? definitely: 24. and make sure they bloom profusely, just like you do.

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