I have friends that freak out over birthdays. Surprisingly many are men. Birthdays have never really bothered me. I’ve always enjoyed them. I’m for anything that includes a party and cake. I guess I have been in denial. This might explain my complete shock at the fact that I am indeed well into middle age. For me, it’s not the birthdays but the little milestones along the way that revealed the years passing by…..daughter #1 and #2's first day of high school, college applications, last proms, high school graduations, leaving for college…….and more everyday.
I remember the first time I felt the clock ticking: Daughter #1 “became a woman” November 11, 1996. You might think it strange that I remember the date. For some reason, my brain remembers insignificant dates, numbers and commercial jingles from the early 70s. I guess that is why I can’t remember the important things that I should remember. My brain is full of things like, “Wrigley spearmint, gum, gum, gum.” Do you remember that one? I remember this particular date because it was 2am on Veteran’s Day when she woke me with the announcement. I was certain I had prepared her for this occasion nevertheless she was quite distraught and convinced the world as she had known it was over. I remember thinking that it was fortunate that it was Veteran’s Day and there would be no school. She would have 24 hours to get used to the idea before she had to go out into the world as a new woman. My next thought was that while it wasn’t likely, it was now biologically possible that I could become a grandmother. OUCH.
Fast forward a few more years: We are sitting at the table eating dinner when I mentioned that I had heard on the radio that Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were separated. I said that I was disappointed because until that time I thought they would be this generation’s Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Daughter #2 raised her head with a look of complete confusion and said, “The salad dressing guy?”
A few years later: Daughter #2 is studying to take the SAT. The pressure of getting into the college of her choice is getting to her. Her entire future depends on the score she will receive on this test and she is descending into a serious melt-down. When I tried to offer her encouragement, she launched into a tirade about how I had no idea what she was going through; after all I had never had to take the SAT.
I said, “I didn’t?”
I will never forget the look of shock on her face. “YOU took the SAT?”
“I didn’t know it had been around that long.”, she said.
“Well, I did have to dip my quill into the ink to fill in those little boxes.”
So, I guess with daughters like mine, my advancing age should come as no surprise. They have reminded me every step of the way.