We are at an interesting point in our ages in our family. My son is 20 this week, I turned 40 this spring and my father will be 60 in a couple months (tho I will be 41 first) We are each the oldest sibling.
The numbers are interesting, yes. But…I am also thinking of each of us in what we were and will be at these milestones…
My father was very young when I came along – almost 20 – he didn’t get to be the typical young man; free to find himself. He became a dad and had to provide for his family. And he did, he has, he always will.
My birth mother left the 5 of us when I was 8. My father stayed strong and took care of us. Though I’m sure he must have wondered if he should ever love again: he did when he found the woman whom I call “Mom”.
Then, when he was still a young man – almost 40, he became a grandfather to my son. Again, he was there. He was there when I was that scared, lost, young woman who thought her life was over. He was there when he could have turned his back on me. He was there in that waiting room, worrying about his little girl and that new (and his first) grandson.
Now, at this still young age, he is still there. Whenever we call, whatever we need. He still worries. He still waits.
I think of me when I was 20 – I just didn’t know what to do. I thought I knew everything until I realized that I knew nothing. My heart was so broken, the pain seemed like it would never end. He didn’t love me enough, that boy at school. And I believed that my father would stop loving me too if he knew my terrible secret. And so I pretended and so my belly grew.
But he did know. Like Daddies always do. And he didn’t stop loving me – he loved me more. And instead of my life being over, it began again in the big brown eyes of a baby boy.
Now, I’m 40 and he is 20. I sometimes see glimpses of insecurity in those brown eyes. Uncertain of his future, not sure what he wants. I worry, I wonder how I can help him. He has such a big heart and can do anything in my mind.
It makes me understand what my father must have felt. How hard it must have been. To want better lives for our children…to know that they are truly great even when they can’t see it themselves.
When I am 60, I know I will be as surrounded as my father is with not so many things but so very rich in family and love.
My son at 20 – quiet, patient like his grandfather; easy-going and a fierce lover like his mother. He is unsure about where he wants to be – yet, he has time to learn, very unlike his grandfather and mother who had to make the tough choice.
My son at 40 – I see a young man with the woman of his dreams. Someone he loves with all his heart and who loves him. I see him doing what he loves, never compromising his happiness. I see him surrounded by children that he is so patient with. Sitting with his 80 year old grandfather, telling of their adventures.
My son at 60 – surrounded by that family, those traditions, that love. Those brown eyes that we three have reflected back at him in the chocolate eyes of his grandchild!