I was in the middle of writing a very colorful post on tattoos when something incredible stopped my in my tracks: my oldest daughter turned 22 years old.
You may wonder why this very natural occurrence – my child’s birthday – quite figuratively knocked the wind out of me.
When my daughter turned one, I threw an over the top birthday party, invited everyone I knew and loved, ordered pony rides and a thought I had discovered pure heaven on earth.
When my daughter turned 13 and celebrated her bat mitzvah, I sat very emotionally on the temple’s bima proudly watching my little girl transform before my eyes into a beautiful young adult!
When my daughter turned 16, she started to drive both a car and me more crazy than ever before. I was nervous each time she drove off, but took this and a barrage of teenage maternal criticism in stride.
When my daughter boldly turned 18, she started to vote, she continued to tell me all what I did wrong and shortly thereafter left home for college. I was sad, but my excitement for her new life prevailed.
When me daughter turned 21, her thrill in becoming ‘legal’ was overwhelmingly contagious and I was infected by her spirit. I still gave out advice on why not to drink and pointers on life which at this point, she politely accepted.
Now she is 22 years old. She is about to graduate college and start her life as an adult. She will always be my daughter, but now our orbiting worlds are shifting in unknown directions. This is first time that her birthday forced me to face the fact that I was getting old!
As I drive the other day with my tween son and shared with him my quandary, he told me emphatically, “You are still pretty for a 48-year-old.” While I understood that he was trying to make me feel good, I had to ask him, “What does that mean?” He continued, “Well, you are prettier than most other 48 year old women!”
The condition of being almost a century old was quickly seeping into my essence when my dear old friend Sheryl called to wish me also a ‘Happy Birthday’ for my daughter as she has done on March 11th for the last 22 years. She had just texted my daughter who was very pleased by the birthday message, but mentioned to Sheryl that I was taking this birthday much harder then I had in the past. Sheryl and I laughed about how ironic it is to have old children when we feel and look better than we did when we were in our twenties.
By sunset, I comfortably decided that as my oldest daughter was aging, I planned to continue growing younger.