The Big 3-0. It's one of those milestones in life.
For me those milestones started really with Sweet 16. You were officially not a little girl anymore. You could finally shave your legs. Wear makeup. Get your drivers license. Get a job. Date.
And, then there was 18 - because you were graduating from high school. Growing up. You could finally leave your parents house and get your own apartment, if you wanted, which back then, you really wanted. And, back then that made you "legal" and for us growing up in a resort and clubbing town, it was drinking age. Well... it was back then anyway.
And then, there's 21 - well, because by then you were just about to graduate from college and working on building a career, and possibly even getting married, or maybe like me, you were already married and thinking about or actually starting your own family. You were finally really an adult and all grown up (or at least you thought you were).
After that, those milestones seem to come every 10 years.
The first big one is 30, because you were no longer 20-something. 30 because you were getting older. It's where you question your decisions in life and evaluate where you've gotten and where you've yet to go. On my 30th birthday, I was divorced, the single mother of a 6-year old son. In between relationships. Alone. I went out with friends to celebrate, clubbing, like we always did.
And then there's 40. Wow, 40 is getting old, and it's a little weird. Kind of depressing too, depending on where you are. Your age is starting to show a little when you look in the mirror. The extra weight seems to stack up faster. And takes a lot more work to go away. Your hormones begin to turn on you.
And then, there's 50, where you realize, hey... wait a minute. What the heck was I thinking. I'm just coming into my own here. I'm not competing with people anymore. I'm not trying to prove myself anymore. I'm not looking for validation or adulation or approval from others. I'm just starting to re-discover myself! Heck... just really getting to know the authentic me, actually. I am not that old!
And then... your own child turns 30. My only child, my son, turns 30 this very week.
It never occurred to me that as much as it will be a milestone for him passing from that no longer 20-something point in his life, so it is another milestone for me. I never connected that to my parents or my mama before, and how she must have felt as she watched those very milestones with me.
We had a surprise party for my son this weekend. I say we, when actually it was my daughter in law that did all of the work and carried it all off without a hitch. She did a fantastic job and up until they arrived and walked into this door... he had no idea. All of his family and closest friends were there to shout out "surprise!" Can you see the simple joy in his face? As a mother I can't even express how tender my heart feels when I look at this photo. I so totally love this.
That's his children - my grandchildren - that you also see in the picture. They are already growing so much themselves. After you hit that milestone of 50 I'm here to tell you, time flies. Time really flies.
During the party, there was a slideshow of photos of my son running up on a screen, showcasing him from infancy up to the present. It was a little emotional for me and I found myself wiping away mascara'd tears well before the arrival of the guest of honor. Those memories sort of fade back as time goes, until you are reminded of them through old photos, some you haven't looked at in years.
As much as I love my son as an adult, as a father, and a husband, I really miss that little boy too.
Hug those little toddlers of yours today extra tight if for no reason other than tomorrow you'll turn around and they will be 30 before you realize it. Time really does fly.
What were your milestones in life? What marked them?