Tomorrow is my birthday. (No gifts please, just Facebook likes. Trying to hit 10k!)
I don’t really worry much about my birthdays. Despite my steadily increasing amount of grey hairs and my steadily decreasing amount of all hairs (REVERSE JINX!), I’m not one to panic about my age. At least not yet. (Ask me again in two years, when I’m hitting 40.)
Of course, having a kid forces one to reevaluate the passage of time, and having a kid whose birthday is a mere six days after mine isn’t helping.
It’s almost like he’s chasing me.
Last night, on the eve of Detective Munch’s first full day of school (pre-K), Mom and Buried used “Pillow Talk Nightmare Hour” (that long-running show where she waits for my head to hit the pillow and then unleashes every stress and anxiety running through her head) to discuss her sadness that our son will suddenly be gone from the house all day long.
I reassured her that there are positives to it too: she’ll find it easier to get her work done; she’ll be screamed at less; she’ll be less stressed; more day-drinking; etc. But honestly, this whole “my child is getting older!” thing finally got to me a little.
Even though I’m at work during his school hours, it still kind of hit me that my son, at the age of four, will be out of the house, not to mention in someone else’s care, for the entire day. Pretty much non-stop for the next 15 years. It’s almost kind of bizarre, when you think about it, but so is the prospect of having to entertain and protect and teach a miniature human being with no skills and no filter and no self-control for 24 hours a day. (I’m not the home-schooling type, mostly because I don’t believe in God and I do believe in evolution.) Most of us probably need to hand the kid off to someone else every once in a while, but that doesn’t necessarily make the transition any easier.
We’re now entering the period where school becomes the driving force behind, and general measuring stick for, his development, growth and maturity, and there’s no turning back. Time keeps on ticking ticking ticking… into the future! (Consider that obnoxious ear-worm my birthday gift to YOU!) Maybe if we hold him back a few years, he’ll not only dominate school sports and be big man on campus (literally, and maybe only literally; in my day, being held back used to carry something of a social stigma), it will also allow us to keep him around a little bit longer.
As a fellow September baby who might have socially benefited from being red-shirted as a kid, the thought of holding my son back has crossed my mind once or twice, but not only is doing that in an attempt to prolong his childhood selfish and weird, it seems a little too close to programming his future. And I definitely don’t want to do that. Which leaves us with little recourse. Time marches on, and drags all of us with it.
In terms of my own slow decline into old age, corresponding (and intentional) heroin addiction and inevitable death, being able to measure the passage of time by what grade my son is in only makes my life seem to move even more quickly. Ever since he moved in, I’ve been measuring my age by my son’s.
Starting next year, when he enters kindergarten, I’ll be measuring my son’s age by his grade. And since my birthday, his birthday AND the new school year all hit in September? Gone are my days of hardly even remembering how old I’m turning (once you pass 35, nothing really matters but the big round numbers). Now, every time he starts a new grade, I’ll be reminded that not only is he growing up, I’m getting older too. So on top of making me look old (relax, the pic to the left was doctored with the Aging Booth app), now my son is making me feel old too.
I’m kind of starting to understand the impulse to track your kid’s age in months, despite my previous rants against it.
Measuring his age in smaller increments might help slow things down, at least a little. Right?
At least in my head?
Fine. It won’t help at all. Shut up!