(This is part of a series of posts. See here for the introduction.)
Another thing I've noticed about getting older is that things that used to be enjoyable just aren't any more. For example; I used to like a good rain. Throw in some thunder and lightning and I was all about it. The heavier the better. Now when the sky starts pouring down, my adult brain immediately jumps to a leaking roof, trees falling on our house and insurance claims. The dull roar of thunder that used to make me pause in awe of how huge and magnificent this world is now just makes me tense up and pray my children stay asleep and the dog doesn't pee on something.
I know this all sounds depressing, but it's really not. I'm actually pretty happy about all of this. You know how much easier it is to think of something to do on a Saturday afternoon when the probable result is closer to "go to the park" than "see how close I can come to being injured or killed by doing something fun but stupid"? I'm not saying I don't still want to go sky diving someday and I'll never enjoy a new song or bad-for-me-but-oh-so-good meal. I'm saying that if the worst thing about growing up is that I listen to music I like, eat food that's good for me, wear clothes I'm comfortable in and have to finally worry about natural disasters (that I probably should have worried about all along) and the paperwork that comes with their destruction, then I'm cool with that. Because there's a ton of stuff about growing up I love. I'm married to the most amazing person I've ever met and the more time we spend together, the more I fall in love with her and get to know her and look forward to spending even more time with her. I have two amazing kids that learn and grow and astonish me every single day in new ways. I can't wait to see what our kids turn out to be like when they're older. I want to meet teenage Madelyn and know what her favorite subject in school is and if she likes dance or basketball or plays an instrument (or all three!). I want to see Patrick when he's 15 and find out if he's still as methodical and curious as he is now. I want to know what kind of music he listens to and if he still loves books. The only way to find these things out is to get older. If that means I have to become a little less relevant and endure some awkward looks from younger people, then so be it. I'll gladly wear my cargo pants, look forward to Dave Matthew's Band albums and lose some more of my hair if that's what it takes to spend another day, month or year with Angie and the kids.
Growing up isn't always fun. It's not a "cool" thing to do and it's not easy. But for something that I was supposed to not want, it's certainly one of the most enjoyable things I've ever done.
Toby, you are amazing and have a fabulous talent for writing. I have enjoyed the series. Happy Birthday and many, many more.
Love, Aunt Jill
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