My sister Abby wished me a Happy Birthday over the phone this morning. The conversation went something like this.
Abby: "Happy birthday, Bethy! You're twenty-four!!! You're such an old fart now!!!"
Me: "Thanks, Abby, but I am NOT an old fart! Twenty-four is NOT that old. Maybe if I was turning twenty-five it would make me an old fart, but I'm only twenty-four!"
Abby: "Twenty-four is SOOO OLD! YES YOU ARE AN OLD FART!"
Me: "I AM NOT AN OLD FART! YOU ARE!"
Abby: "WHAT?!? I'm only ELEVEN! That's not old at ALL!"
Me: "Well, it is to me, because I was there when you were born. And now you're almost twelve! So YOU'RE the old fart!"
Abby: "Well I was there when YOU were born, so there!"
Me: "What are you TALKING ABOUT???!!? You weren't even close to being ALIVE when I was born!!!!"
Abby: "Yes I WAS! I was waving to you from my little egg watching you leave!"
Me: "You were...WHAT??!?!"
Abby: "I could see you from my little egg! And I was crying and waving to you in my little egg since you were leaving...and I was saying, 'There goes my older sister Bethers! I'll see you again soon!'"
Me (laughing hysterically): "Yeah....twelve years later.
And now I'm twenty-four....... and you're almost twelve."
The funny thing is, even if I don't have any recollection on life inside my own "little egg", I still remember life so clearly when I was twelve. Abby was born that year, and filled our house with energy and excitement from the first day she entered into our lives. In a way, it feels like no time has passed and twelve years have past all at the same time.
How does this happen?
One day I'm a scrawny twelve-year-old with braces, baggy t-shirts, and a newborn baby sister, and the next day it's twelve years later and I'm a twenty-four-year-old woman with a husband, two cats, and my own nine-month-old daughter.
The years go faster as you get older. My baby is growing and gaining her own independence more and more each day. It's going too fast, and I feel like I can't keep up. I am so afraid of waking up one morning and finding that it has been twelve years. And then twelve more. And all of the sudden, I am the woman with a twenty-four-year-old daughter....who still feels like I was twelve only yesterday.
[Feel free to start tearing up now...I definitely am.]
But since getting older is an inevitable reality that cannot be stopped (no matter how hard some people may try), I will cheerfully wish myself a happy birthday to me. And I will rest assured that while it may go fast, I am here now. And even though we may not see it at first, every day is always a start to something beautiful. Which is something I can't help but look forward to.
So, Hello to you, beautiful twenty-four.