As I write this it is our youngest daughter's birthday.
It's huge day. Not necessarily for her. But for me.
Beth is 22, and a 22nd birthday isn't the biggest thing that happens in a person's life. At 16 you drive a car. At 18 you're old enough to vote. Twenty-one is the legal age.
But 22 doesn't carry any special significance - accept you're another year older. Of course, when you get another year older at 22, its not as badas at 55.
When Beth was one year old I was 34 times her age. Today, I am 2 1/2 times older. In 12 years I'll only be twice her age. This is very significant and it's something our children misunderstand.
This has nothing to do with our children getting older.
This is about parents getting younger!
This means every time one of our children has a birthday, I'm getting younger. No wonder I've been celebrating all week.
I've always said that the birthdays of other people are more fun to celebrate than your own. This is particularly true in the case of our adult children.
In fact, my wife, Jeanne, says we have the whole birthday gift-giving tradition turned around. She says children, on their birthday, should give a gift to their mother. And it's a good idea - as long as the gift is something the father can use, too.
There is a basic difference between the way parents - the birthors - and adult children - birthees - look at birth days. The difference is, the parents remember this day. The adult children don't.
Parents get excited over the birthday of their children because it brings back all the memories of one of the greatest days in their lives.
I remember the day Beth was born like it was yesterday. In fact, I swear it was yesterday and I have no idea where the last 22 years have gone.
The other day I described the evening she was born to a teenager we know.
Me: "I was at work. Jeanne was at home. I called and told her I was on my way. But I got stopped by a train."
Friend: "You got stopped by what?"
Me: "A train. There used to be dozens of trains roaring through Lafayette every day. Every so often one would break down. I was stopped by a stalled train that evening, and all of a sudden the baby was ready. Jeanne had No idea where I was."
Teenager: "Why didn't she call you on your cell phone?"
Me: "This was before cell phones."
Teen: "What about your wireless e-mail?
Me: "No such thing back then."
Teen: "Couldn't she track you on GPS?"
I guess we can track the passage of time today by our changing technology.
A pediatrician once told me we measure time through children. We can't visualize passing time. But look at your children and you can see what has happened in two years, or five - or 22.
That's why parents celebrate the birthdays of adult children. They're celebrating their pride in the wonderful people that have emerged from The passage of time in their lives.
Somewhere in this community, another man is going to have a little girl today. He's going to experience all the joy that I have. One word of Advice - don't count on any sleep for awhile. But don't worry about it, either. Pry your eyes open and enjoy every second of it.
Sleep is for grandparents.
Children become 22 in the blink of your eye.
Copyright © Federated Publications