This weekend one of my staff turns 24. I spend a few seconds pondering that in my head when she said that. “I am 44, will be 45 in July…that makes me almost 21 years older than her…HOLY FREAKITY FREAKING FREAK. I am old enough to be the mother of a 24 year old.”
I am used to being reminded I am old enough to be the mother of the college students I talk to and see every day. I see the ages of their parents on the aid applications. I even note at times that there are parents who are almost 10 years younger than I. They OBVIOUSLY got a very early start on parenthood. Unlike myself, who got a bit of a late start.
And I think that is where the shock and horror comes in. I am the mother of a 2 year old. NOT a mother of a 24 year old. I can’t even fathom having been a mother at such a young age. My mother was 23 when she had me (sorry mom you are outed) which seems really young too. I feel like every day I am figuring out how to do this whole mothering thing and I have a lot of life experience working for me that I would not have had at 21 or 23. Quite honestly, I am amazed I am still alive if you consider the crazy things we could do. When we would take family trips to my grandparents house in the car, my brother and I were in the back seat, with no seat belts, laying down on the seat and on a wooden bench that my dad fashioned to fill the leg space so we had more room. Eventually we had to wear seat belts, but not early on. I rode bicycles with no helmet. We went out alone for walks in the woods. I remember swimming for the first time with no flotation device at around 5 years of age. And here I am to tell the tale. I am not saying my parents made bad choices, by the way. It was just a different world 40 years ago.
Being a parent at an more advanced age has its benefits, but wow does it have some disadvantages. Like what happens to my brain once Cooper is down for the night. I am pretty sure if you were able to see into my skull, you would see a bowl of oatmeal, not a brain. My knees remind me every time I get up off the floor from playing with Cooper that you are, from a biological standpoint, supposed to breed 20 years earlier.
But I generally don’t consider my age in relation to my coworkers and friends. I don’t think often in terms of “I could be that persons mother” until I am reminded. And then the joke is on me. Yes, I am that old. Sigh.