I had a birthday recently.
Not a milestone one, at least not officially, but one that very firmly set me closer to 40 than 30.
Q. is going to be 39 in January.
E. is starting school next month.
Two of the houses on our part of the street sold this summer and the new people have moved in. They’re couples in their late twenties or early thirties. They don’t have kids (yet?). They remind me of Q. and I when we bought our house, seven years ago this autumn.
I feel like we are entering a new stage in our lives. Most of our friends are sending their kids to school as well. We’re done with babies and diapers. We’re losing the flexibility to travel whenever Q. isn’t teaching. Now our movements will be ruled by the school calendar (and that has been a bitter pill to swallow).
This summer, within a week of each other, two of my friends’ mothers had strokes. One died. The other survived, but the stroke added complications to her terminal liver cancer diagnosis. She’s still hanging on, but there isn’t a lot of time left.
Here’s the thing that really struck me: we are creeping into that age where it’s no longer shocking or surprising that our friends are losing their parents.
Q. lost his father in 2003. His father was demonstrably “too young” to die. Q. and his siblings were demonstrably “too young” to lose a parent.
But some of my friends, who are a little bit older than we are, and the youngest in their families, now have parents who are in their late seventies or early eighties. And when they die, although it is still a terribly sad thing and everyone wishes we could have more time with our loved ones, their lives cannot really be said to have been cut short in the way people said it of Q.’s father.
It is that, more than anything else, that makes me feel like Q. and I are entering mid-life.