Justin turned 35 in May and had a third-life crisis. His joints began to ache, his bones began to creak, and his hair…okay…that one’s not fair. Meanwhile, I am closing in on 34, have detected crow’s feet and plucked my fair share of wiry gray hairs from my head. But somehow, neither one of us thinks of ourselves as a grown up. Given the choice, I still prefer to sit at the kiddie table, yet here we are with a kiddo of our own.
Perhaps it was when I crested thirty and conveniently began forgetting how old I was that I finally grew up. Lord knows age mattered as a kid. I was never just 4 (except of course when I was “plain four”). No, I was always “four and a half” or “five and three-quarters” or “thirteen going on thirty” [that one was actually my sister]. Age milestones dictated my whole life. I could get my ears pierced at 12. Got my period at 13. Drive at 16 [legally]. Vote at 18. Drink at 21[legally].
Now, when I am asked to enter my birth date on an online drop-down menu, it actually takes me a few seconds to scroll all the way down to my year of birth. I get called “senora” instead of “senorita” on a regular basis and while accurate, somehow it doesn’t seem appropriate.
In college, I scribed a terribly melancholic poem grieving the passing of my childhood – the loss of carefree days and barefoot summers. There was something about my desk being transformed into a swing set, a line about term papers turning into coloring books, etc. I cringe as I read this sophomoric prose and yet, there was something so foretelling in those words. The very last line proclaimed that though our own childhood was over, we would experience it again, one day, thru our own children.
And here I am – with a kid of my own- and what am I doing, but rushing her own childhood. When she was a newborn, I couldn’t wait for her to be 6 weeks so that she would sleep better (hah!). When she was 6 weeks, I was waiting for 3 months when she would roll. At three months, I couldn’t wait for 5 months when she could sit on her own. When she was 5 months, I couldn’t wait to feed her solid foods. At six months, I was waiting on her to crawl. This afternoon, she pulled herself up to standing entirely on her own and, for the briefest of moments, she didn’t look like a baby anymore. I got misty-eyed and wondered where the time went.
So, I’ve decided that I am going to stop rushing things. I am going to relish in the days when we do nothing but play and laugh and sometimes, cry. I am going to stop worrying about when she’s going to get teeth. Lucy has this sweet spot on the back of her neck that I love to nuzzle. It smells like baby and all that is good in the world. I think I’ll just spend some time there.