Birthdays for Parents…Or Not

I celebrated my fourth consecutive 29th birthday this past week. There was a small surge in my late twenties where my birthday coincided with some consternation about my progression in life and I typically ended up feeling old and unaccomplished. Then I had kids. It’s not that I ever really cared about celebrating, but now I REALLY don’t care about celebrating. I didn’t even realize my birthday was approaching until two days prior when my wife reminded me; I had to stop and pause to do a quick calculation on how old I would be turning.

It’s no secret that life has the tendency to run downhill like a snowball: the older you get, the faster life moves. Once I had kids, life and time stopped being measured in my own personal context. My life now registers on my daughters’ life continuum and the passage of time is only noticed as it relates to Eliza and Everly. My birthday is an afterthought—rightfully so—when I look at the more important family dates…their birthdays, their first time doing this or that, their second Christmas, etc. etc. There is seldom time for self-reflection, there is only time for toddler-flection and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Why should my wife and I celebrate our anniversary when we could be celebrating Eliza putting pee-pee in the potty? Who needs Mother’s Day or Father’s Day when the newborn coos for the first time?

My wife, ever my cheapskate soul mate, got me food for my birthday. It’s embarrassing how excited I can get when receiving practical gifts for the holidays (A WORK SHIRT? YES!!!). Having a few meals covered by my birthday present made for a great day…and writing that last sentence only cements the fact that my days of youth are looonnng gone. I might as well get some Velcro walking shoes, tuck in my shirt, and go out to dinner at 3:30 each afternoon. Anyway, my daughter Eliza did have quite the thrill getting to sing Happy Birthday to her daddy. I suppose watching her face light up with satisfaction after a song well sung was worth aging another year. Watching her sing, however, paled in comparison to watching my little two-year old siphon off all of daddy’s birthday steak. After watching her tear into steak for the first time, I am starting to wonder if she is really a toddler or some kind of grizzly bear hybrid.

Regardless, life moves steady on and this year’s birthday offered little in the way of time for reflection. Work, family, blogging, and other bits of life absorb every last spare moment, which means that my fifth 29th birthday is going to come even quicker than this one. I believe there exists a formula for calculating the speed of life and each kid acts as a multiplier and exponentially accelerates the aging process. I thought life started flying with my first child; daughter number two has put that acceleration on overdrive. My thirtieth 29th birthday will be here before I know it!

These are certainly not complaints though. My own birthday seems so irrelevant in the whirl of family life and I would not have it any other way. My life and our house revolves around my two little daughters—just don’t tell them that, we are trying to maintain some miniscule strand of order in the house. As for time moving fast, I believe that I’d much prefer life passing in a blink with these two little ankle biters than life crawling on slowly without them. The truth is, even when you’re losing as a parent, you’re still winning.

So I hope your next birthday brings you steak and contemplation just as mine did, but here’s hoping you do not have a two year old with a taste for blood that eats it all first.

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