My father was 46-years-old when I was born. He already had two children in their early 20s, and had recently been through a bruising divorce. He raised my half-siblings through his own 20s and 30s, a time when he was building his career, buying his first house, and going to school part-time. Before he knew it, they were grown.
This happens to so many parents…so busy providing for our kids that we miss some of the magic of their childhoods. But how many of us actually have a chance to go back and do it all again? My dad did.
This time, he promised himself that he would be there to experience everything. As a kid this translated into Daddy and Me classes, frequent dinner dates, a built-in chauffeur for all my weekend enrichment activities, constant homework help, and much more. I took all of this for granted–it was the only thing I knew–but as a parent I now realize that he carved out an astounding amount of time to spend with only me.
But I wasn’t the only one who benefited. Besides the joy of raising another child, he got his own boost–access to the fountain of youth. If you’re only as old as you feel, he felt like a guy with a kid in school–clear into his 60s.
I married a man 10 years my senior, and we began having children soon enough. But it’s looking like child number three, if we’re blessed enough to have one, will graduate college around the time that my husband is eligible for Social Security.
We wonder what all this means for our family. My concerns are mostly medical: even I, with my supposed youth, have already reached “Advanced Maternal Age,” and scientists say the age of the dad is also a real factor. Are our aging chromosomes a danger to a future child? Should we just leave well enough alone and congratulate ourselves on the good luck of having two healthy children (poo poo poo)? And more selfish concerns…will my husband and I ever have the bittersweet joy of being empty nesters? Going on solo vacations and falling in love all over again? Or will it just be us and the kids…as far as the eye can see?
My husband’s got other concerns. He wonders whether he’ll continue to have the energy to be the dad he wants to be as the years march on. But knowing what I know–that even as our kids make us feel a thousand years old they also keep us young–I’m not worried about this in the least. And I know that our children will benefit immeasurably from my husband’s wealth of wisdom and experience.
An older dad can be the best thing that ever happened to a kid…just ask me. Happy 82nd Birthday, Dad!