A question I find myself asking people after their birthday is "So, how does it feel to be ___?"
A young child will probably say "great" not knowing what it's like to be anything other than a child but excited that they are "growing up."
A teenager will say "well, at least I can do (x,y,z)" also not knowing the responsibility that comes with age.
An older person might say "I still feel 25!"
On Kirk's 30th birthday he replied "Not much different than 29."
That got me thinking. What is age? Some say just a number, some say it's everything. As I'm faced this year with Whit's 3rd birthday and approach my own leap into my 30's I venture both into the past and the future to answer the question.
I can distinctly remember my mother's surprise 30th birthday party. Kristin was about to turn 10, a month later I would be 8 and Josh hadn't even been born yet. I remember being overly excited and thinking how cool a surprise party was, and I can still recall the tension in the room when my mother let us know just how unhappy she was about the situation. When I'm 30, Whit will just be starting to form long-term memories. If we don't make a big to-do, he might not remember it at all. When he's 8 and able to remember my birthday, I'll be turning 35. Those five years doesn't seem like a big deal, but I know that they are.
When I got married at 23 and had Whit at 26, I was fully an adult. But I didn't really feel like it. And some (even those who did both at a younger age) said I was too young. Maybe I was. But maybe those big life events are what make you older, not just the number on your birthday cake. I have friends who are well into their 30's who still behave younger than I do and friends who are younger who have weathered far more of life than I have.
Do I feel different than I did last year, 5 years ago, 10 years ago? Sort of. I'm more tired, for one. I think my knees were getting sore yesterday when Whit commanded I "scott!" to be the catcher for the hundredth time. I have a husband instead of a boyfriend (although it's the same guy....) and I have two little people who I'm fully responsible for. But even that isn't enough to make me feel...well.... 30.
Will I feel different 10 years from now as we approach our 40th birthdays? I don't know. Whit will be 13, Eilidh 10 and only God knows if there will be any other members of our family. But I think I'll feel sort of the same. I'll still enjoy being at home, gardening and knitting just like I did when I was 20 (although the hobbies will be more suited to my 40-something self) I'll still be cuddling my babies (no matter how big they are) and I'll still feel like "me."
The biggest change in my life will be my little people. It sounds cliche, but it's hard to watch your kids grow up. It's as if they change every single day and if you don't watch closely, you'll miss it. But, it's like I told Kirk when we realized Whit wasn't a baby anymore: we didn't lose him we lost the baby him. Whit will still be around, and he will still be himself. Even when he's 13, or 30! And perhaps one day we will get to relive the magic as I know our parents are reliving our childhoods through Whit and Eilidh (it's tough not to when they are mini versions of us!)