Of late, I have been doing a lot of math.
My oldest announced recently that she is expecting in July, therefore making me a grandfather for the first time.
There's that. Please add five years to my age.
I turned 44 last Saturday.
There's that, as well. That's another year added (duh).
My oldest son and oldest step-daughter are both graduating high school in two months, each finishing in the top 10 percent of their class, and each headed to college in September.
There's that, too. (Five more years there)
My wife began taking college classes to become a certified midwife, fulfilling a dream she's had since before her first marriage.
Anyone I know who decides to follow a dream takes 5 years off my age. It's a pride thing. It makes the heart feel a little younger.
The girl we've been foster-parenting will more than likely be reunified with her mother in a couple months. I can't express to you here what my heart says about this other than to equate it to how I felt when I watched E.T. die while Elliot sobbed.
I fear there will be no magical bicycle ride to make it all better. For her sake, I hope I'm wrong. With all humility I can say that what we give her is better. There. I said it.
This will age me by ten years, easily.
I'm in my local community musical Damn Yankees, which premieres in three weeks. I play Applegate, a.k.a "The Devil." I love the part. I get to sing a solo with a walking cane and just enough soft shoe choreography to make me not look moronic. I love being back on stage. I love being Satan. What does that say about me?
Doing what you love for no other reason: that's five years back for me.
My wife and I have decided that our adopted son, Bailey, will no longer be allowed to visit his biological aunt. It seems she's been telling him stories about how we "stole" him from his real mother (whom he's never met). Not to mention the fact that each time he visits her he comes back a behavioral miscreant who needs to be reprogrammed to act human again.
This is a wash. On the one hand, we're closing the door on the last remaining biological family member who ever showed love for the boy. On the other hand, we're closing the door on access to a part of his life that, according to his physician and therapist, causes him more regression and confusion than he can handle.
I went ahead and spent a goodly amount of cash for a home digital recording studio so that I can begin composing music. I haven't done this for nearly 20 years.
Doing something everyone else thinks is irrational: give me back five years.
My oldest son, for his 18th birthday, decided to get a tattoo.
The tattoo turned out to be the title of my first (and so far only) published book. He had it done in a graduated blue on his arm. It looks fucking awesome, man.
That's 10 back for me.
Recently my two youngest, in the span of ten minutes of each other, hugged me and said they loved me, something I hope I never get used to because the surprise of it is like finding a one-hundred-dollar bill in a back pocket just when you need it most.
With everything I perceive to not have, I realize I have in abundance that which I need.