My oldest son, the Crown Prince, is now twenty years old.
Meanwhile, some of my high school classmates are grandparents. I’ve taken to wearing reading glasses on a chain around my neck. I cannot name a single song or artist on the Billboard Top 40. Someone born the same year as yours truly is running for President of the United States. Someone born the same year as my husband is running for Vice President on the opposing ticket. And just the other day, Mr. Lucky adjusted the settings on his computer to a larger, easier to read font.
Add it all up and I’d say it’s officially official: I’m getting old.
I’ve never had a birthday that made me go, “Wow! I’m getting old! What happened to my life?”
But my firstborn’s birthdays always have that effect on me—especially this one. Why?
When he turned thirteen, I was aghast at how time was racing by. Mr. Lucky shared my dismay at the knowledge that we’d become the parents of a (gulp) teenager.
Granted, because of his autism and developmental delays, the Crown Prince probably didn’t have a typical adolescence. Oh, there was the rebellion—suddenly he didn’t want to get out of bed and go to school, and sometimes I’d have to call Mr. Lucky at work, and summon him home to make that boy get out of bed and go to school. He didn’t want to play on the computer or Sony Playstation anymore; instead, he just wanted to “hang out” at the end of the driveway and watch the rest of the world go by. He ate like a python. And his little brother had become a pesky nuisance who never should have been brought home from the hospital.
At the same time, we didn’t have to deal with driver’s ed, and higher insurance rates for the car. He never required an elaborate stereo system that made the whole house shake with something he’d call music, but which his father and I might consider noise. He likes the music his parents like.
We never found cigarettes or booze or bongs or condoms or WMD's in his possession. The closest I came to finding racy pictures in his room were his father’s photography magazines. We didn’t get hysterical phone calls from tearful girls begging him not to break up with them. Nor did we have to worry about him falling in with a bad crowd, or what sites he was visiting on the Internet, or where he was at three in the morning.
He did get to dress up and attend a prom for special students, and while he never turned out for school sports, he does enjoy bowling.
I can’t help wondering now if Mr. Lucky and I had it easier than most parents of teenagers, at least with this particular child. We still have one more to go.
If the present is anything to go by, that’s going to be a lot of fun.