You owe me a hug, son

posted in: parenthood, Uncategorized | 2

JEPII and Nittany Lion 1988My older son turned 30 today. I looked in the mirror this morning and saw skin crisscrossed with lines that weren’t there yesterday, sections of my face and neck dragging and drooping that, I swear, just yesterday were smooth and, if not firm, at least firmER.

I feel ancient, as if his turning this magical age (the age beyond which my generation couldn’t trust another) propelled me into the phase of  old croney-hood.

The truth is, physically I’m probably in better shape than I was for most of my adult life. Thanks to Leslie Sansone’s “Walk at Home” tapes :-), I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I have more stamina and endurance than I ever have. I feel fine.

Just no longer young.

I told myself it will pass. I told myself that at some point I’ll look at these “new” lines and sags and wrinkles as badges of honor, if not courage, that I’ll recognize them as nature’s way of telling those around me I’ve lived life well.

Then it struck me – the “why” of my melancholy. It’s not that I feel old. It’s that I feel blue that I can’t celebrate with him.

My son is spending his 30th birthday with friends, hundreds of miles away.  I can’t give him a hug. I can’t  marvel and feel, just for myself, how big and brawny he’s grown, how strong and mature. I can’t look into the eyes that are so like his father’s mother’s and wonder about the body’s magical mixing of DNA that creates such uniqueness out of parts so recognizable.

But then I realized that he’s doing exactly what I wanted for him. He’s fulfilling the dreams I made for him that day 30 years ago. He’s living the life he wants, enjoying friendships and exploring the world. And I’m thrilled.

Happy birthday, honey. You owe me a hug.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses

  1. If that’s a recent photo, you look pretty young to me. The trick is, if you’re approaching fifty, think of fifty being as they say, ‘the new thirty’. Sixty the new forty. It works. I noticed that more and more in my writing I am commenting on the passing of time, in a sort of hysterical but enjoyable way, half unbelieving. As if to say, the game is up, and it was a marvellous farce. Especially on retiring from the day job.

    • Leah St. James

      Thanks, Kenton, for stopping by and for taking the time to share your thoughts…and for your kind words about the photo! Trust me, it’s amazing what a professional photographer can do. 🙂 Just yesterday I was thinking how quickly time passes. I feel the same inside as I did when I was in my 20s, just a whole lot more confident, and maybe a little wiser. Sometimes when I consider the number of years I’ve been married or known my husband, or when I listen to a “classic” rock song and place it in time to my early adulthood, I get a little jolt to realize I’ve been alive that many years. I like your new aging scale!

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