It's my husband's birthday today, his FORTIETH. I turned forty six months ago--painfully, and with lots of foot-dragging. I've felt a little lonely about it, too, being the only one in our house who's that old.
But now my husband gets to join me on the other side, in this strange, uncomfortable-feeling new decade--the one that will find us negotiating together our children's teenage years. He's been close-lipped about how he feels about forty, but I'm sure there's some angst in there, somewhere, buried under all the nonchalance.
Yesterday T. asked me how old Papa was going to be.
"Forty," I told her.
"Is that really old?" she asked.
I didn't hesitate a second. "No, it's not really old."
"It sounds old," she said.
And really, that IS the problem with forty, It does sound old, no matter how you look at it.
The other day I was riding the elevator with two students. They were talking about another girl they knew.
"Is she STILL on campus?" one of them asked.
"She's still here!" the other answered.
"How old is she?"
"Girl, she's as old as DIRT!"
It's been jarring, really, to think that all this time I've been walking around not only dangerously overweight at 130 pounds, but also, apparently, older than dirt.