Monday, April 27, 2009

Turning Fifty

Turning Fifty
No, not me. My child. Somehow, when I turned fifty, I got up, yawned and then moved on. I remember it well; 1984, that bellwether year in fiction. Our youngest was just off to college. We were officially “empty-nesters”. And then I turned fifty. Ok, so now I’m fifty. Wow. At least I’m not depressed, like I was when I turned 37. What's for breakfast?
Then daughter #1 turned fifty. We missed the party, because the party planners didn’t get around to inviting us, until we were already booked for a no-change event. We participated from afar, but the birthday still seemed distant.
Then the other day, daughter #2 turned fifty. We had a gathering, and everybody laughed and wept, and whooped it up. Nice. The party was in advance of her actual birthday, just because another guest was arriving from Germany and we scheduled a joint celebration. On the actual birthday, April 24th, we drove to Montross, Virginia for a surprise birthday celebration. She was surprised. We were thrilled that everyone managed to keep our visit a surprise. They’re building a new home, a retreat, nestled on the water, on a creek that leads to the Potomac. Because they are still building, she didn’t expect any visitors. So, we shared the day with our daughter Kathleen and her husband, to celebrate her fiftieth birthday. Heavens, that seems a long time ago—1959. Eisenhower was still president. Eisenhower!!!!
When we mentioned our planned visit to several people we know, we were greeted with a shocked look. “you have a child who is fifty????” Well, yes. We also have a granddaughter who is 30-ish. Again, stunned looks.
There are many signals of the passing years. Having your first child; having your last child; sending your first kid off to college; becoming an empty-nester; becoming a grandparent.
But somehow, you’re really, really old when one of your kids turns fifty. You can’t laugh about it and say, “yeah, I was married really young”. Because when your kid turns fifty, it doesn’t matter how young you were. You’re still old.
But I don’t feel old! Hahahahahaha. Yeah, but you are old . . .
So, we toasted our daughter on her fiftieth, and we all smiled. Because it was sweet. And because we were there to celebrate.
Another of life’s little signals that mark the inexorable march of time and the years. Time really does keep on marching. And we need these little reminders every now and again that we must strive to live each day to the fullest. We need to stop to smell or just admire the flowers in our lives. The moments are fleeting, but each one is to be cherished.
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