My baby turns 22 next week (not pictured).
I’m 55 and that seems old enough but when I see my baby all grown-up and approaching a milestone birthday (aren’t they all?) I can’t help but feel even older. I reflect that I may not see many more of his birthdays. Will I live to 78 so I have more ahead of me than behind? I wonder. The diabetes tells me there’s a good chance I won’t but I’m going to give it my best shot. I’m not trying to be maudlin; it comes naturally.
He’s a man now and he’s living his own life and I see him making some of the same mistakes I made. It’s hard to realize, at 22, just how much time you have left and so you make more short term decisions than long term. If I were to point out all the things I regret I’m sure it would fall on deaf ears, he is after all, his own person and I made those mistakes in prehistoric times; surely things are so different now my experience could not be relevant. I’m sure most parents have this same frustration and concern and I do my best not to preach…but it’s hard.
All that being said; he’s doing great! He moved out of the house at 18, just like I did. Unlike me he didn’t get married at 18, he didn’t join the military and he’s way better looking and smarter than I was. We often have to push money on him. I’m happy we can but I worry he struggles more than he has to. He grew up with the stories of my youth and I’m sure it’s not lost on him that I never moved back, never looked for financial support (my parents couldn’t have provided it if I did) and I didn’t go to college. That last one is one of my greatest regrets in life. He’s not a “school” kid though and he hasn’t been since 5th grade. Will he regret that just as I do? Only time will tell.
I’m very proud of him but I do worry about him. He’ll make his own way, make mistakes, have heart-breaks, and pick himself up and move on. Just like I did. It’s just hard to watch. It’s also a joy to watch. Life is complicated.
Happy Birthday, kid. I never knew I could love someone this much.