I hear all the time about how people had that "Oh!" moment when they realized they were getting old. Or had just arrived at old. Or were just plain old.
Me, I think I realized this on a doctor’s trip on Friday. And it wasn’t even my doctor trip! My 15-year-old son plays a lot of basketball and has some toe issues — I won’t bore you with the details. So, anyway, on yet another trip to the doctor (thankfully five minutes from my house or I would rack up frequent flier mileage) I had my "Oh!" moment.
The moment came without any warning or fanfare. Balloons and streamers didn’t fall from the ceiling. But it hit me hard, nonetheless. When they put my son on the scale it turns out he’s topped six feet. There. Boom. That was it.
What, you say that doesn’t seem like much? Well, this is my son who’s not old enough to drive yet, the kid who still depends on me to survive. And yes, he’s my baby boy. Maybe it’s because his older brother has a serious independent streak like me, but my youngest just always seems so…young. He’s still a kid.
Of course, the simple truth is he hasn’t physically been a kid for awhile. He’s been taller than me for at least a year or so and there’s no telling where he’ll stop growing, though I think for him taller is better.
It’s funny how those moments hit you. I realized the instant the nurse told me his height that he’s no longer a kid. It doesn’t matter that I’m still driving him everywhere. It doesn’t matter that he still gets an allowance for his chores. It just seems weird literally looking up to my son.
And that, dear readers, makes me feel old.
Okay, I’m in my early 40s so I’m not ready for the retirement home just yet, but it seems like just yesterday I could get up early, stay up very, very late and still go play football, soccer, whatever the next day with no ill effects. Now? Now I’m napping for a couple of hours before my weekly ice hockey game. And speaking of that, here’s another reason I feel old: my oldest son plays on that team and has far surpassed me in skill, goals scored and looking fit in the uniform. Ugh.
Speaking of family, did I mention my wife is younger than me? You know, the more I write this column the older I feel, so I’m just going to stop here.
I will leave on this note: I waxed the tall young whippersnapper at Laser Tag. Small victories get magnified as you get older. Or, at least, so I hear.
Rodney Williams is the managing editor for The Anna-Melissa Tribune and the Van Alstyne Leader. He can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.