But, of course, that's not true. Every year the kid has a birthday and grows not just up, but older. Every year every parent has a birthday, too. From a thirty-something when he was born, I became a sixty-something, year by year gaining that one year he gained. Same for my husband. That thirty-something person didn't have any gray hairs yet. Didn't have the skin lesions. Hadn't yet been bucked off and kicked in the rear on the way to the ground, leaving some permanent hip damage. That thirty-something person wore glasses (and had for thirty years) but had no cataracts or other vision difficulties. Still had the very low BP, the "naturally" slower heart rate of the younger fitter self.
The thirty-something person had written, but not yet published, fiction that would in fact end up being published, and still in print. Had at that point quit knitting, and had never knitted a sock (I have now...) Still had a live mother, a live step-grandmother, and a live (if pretty much estranged from) father...none of them are alive now. The thirty-something person had never been to all but one of the countries I've since visited. So the thirty-something years since I was that person have not been empty years all on a downhill slope. I've done a lot, enjoyed a lot, learned a lot (and enjoyed that), made new friends...and, inevitably, have gotten older.
We had a simple celebration today--a couple we've been friends with forty-something years now came up, and we had lunch and sang to the "kid" who isn't a kid anymore and went for a walk on a lovely fall day, and...we all have gray in the hair, and we're not exactly the same shape and we sure weren't about to play a little football or volleyball because there are gimpy knees, cranked necks, sore shoulders, vision problems, and various other things. A walk out to see if we could ID the migrating songbirds (no--too many leaves still on the bushy trees, and smart birds staying well down in cover) --was more our speed. But very pleasant.
A good day, a very good day indeed, when one's thirty-something "kid" is now a decent adult human being, and one's friends are still friends, and one's health is good enough to enjoy a meal with them, walk out and enjoy a field of grass blowing in the wind and birds flitting (inconveniently) through thick cover, their short alert calls not identifiable (except for the wrens: Carolina and Bewick's both. They're resident year-round.) The colors of rain-refreshed grass in the late slanting light, the brilliant red of a few late flowers, the soft purple of a vine on a rail fence. Sixty-something is just fine.