Double Digits

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I’m not really a person who is depressed by milestones.

When I turned 30, I went out to a tres-fancy dinner with my husband and my visiting sister – it was LOVELY. When I turned 40, I had the MOST bangin’ party with my amazing family, tons of friends from all the different spokes in the wheel that is my life. All my words collided and we danced, drank, bowled, ate, played pool, ate, drank, danced, ate…you get the picture. It was heaven, and I STILL have friends who bring up that party to me as one of the best they’d been to. And I always respond, “I know! I’m STILL enjoying it, too!!!”

There is very little besides chin hair that depresses me about my getting older. I’m not even very sentimental about my children’s milestones. We celebrate the crap out of them and I’m proud beyond containment, but the things in their lives that make me cry are more random and less predictable. For Emma’s 16th birthday (she’s now 17) we spent the day in NY – she with her then-boyfriend, and me on my own until we met up for dinner with my parents. Nicky (now 15) got his braces off and in an instant looked like a young man, and I simply took him out to breakfast. Graduations, and other milestones put a lump in my throat from happiness, but nothing over the top.

So, what DOES make me tear up? Random and rare shows of affection. When Emma had her first job at 14, she came home one day and handed me a bracelet, and said, “This is for you. Someone came into the bakery selling these bracelets they’d made.” And she went off to her room. And I cried. Not because she bought me a gift, but because when someone came in selling pretty bracelets, the thought occurred to her, Hey, I’ll get one of these for mom.

At one of Nicky’s baseball games, it was the bottom of the last inning of a very tight game, from which his team had come from behind. Nicky drove in the winning run. He came up the hill where I was watching with the hugest smile on his face and his arms out, and he gave me the tightest, yummiest hug like he used to when he was 3. He went back to his team, and I cried. Not because he helped them win, but because he initiated a hug.

Leo, on the other hand, is affectionate and mushy and emotional on a regular basis. He tells me many times a day how awesome I am, and how glad he is I’m his mom. He says things like, “Thanks for giving birth to me,” and “I love you SO MUCH,” to me and Dave (hubs to me, dad to him) ALL the time. He says, “I’m so lucky to be in this family. A lot of kids aren’t this lucky.” He has always been mature and wise beyond his years, but today he turns…10.

And I, for the first time, feel at a loss. Out of sorts. Saddened by a milestone. For the first time in over seventeen years, I have no children whose age is in the single-digits. I’m sitting here, and I don’t even know what to say to follow that last sentence. It took me all of 20 minutes to write the entire post up to this paragraph, and 20 minutes after starting this paragraph, I’m still staring at the screen. I’m rarely unable to articulate my feelings.

So, I’ll just stop trying. I’ve been joking with Leo this week – all the way up to this morning – begging, “Please, don’t turn 10!” This morning he answered with an evil look in his eye and said, “I won’t turn 10 if you let me stay home from school…” and I said, “Nice try.”

He said, “I can’t believe I’m not 9-and-11/12ths anymore!” To which my husband said, “Now you’re 9-and-12/12ths!” I responded, “That’s it!!! That’s how I’ll refer to your age now! You’re NINE-AND-TWELVE-TWELFTHS!”

And I felt a little bit better.

I might even go a step further and say my youngest child is 520 weeks old today.

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