I am officially 180 years old. This weekend I went by myself to a family birthday party (first-birthday party, although the mom is only six years younger than me) because Steve was working. I've gone to family gatherings by myself before, but there's always been a kid at home who was doing something else at the time. This time, there would be no kid coming home: I went by myself because that's all there is, and all there will be.
The thought of having toddlers calling me Mommy right now is enough for me to chew my arm off to get out of the room, but this weekend was just one more confirmation that things will be different from now on. Not bad, but not the same. I was adrift among people a generation older than me with grandchildren, and people around my age (a few older) with kids still at home. My function was as bellwether: after seeing me alone, parents with kids in their early teens are smacked upside the head with the reality that in just a few short years they will be attending family gatherings with a part of their families missing. And that it will be rather sooner than they'd realized that they'll be redefining their lives.
That, and our 25th wedding anniversary is at the end of the month. People's parents have been married for 25 years - how can it be that I've been around long enough to have been married for a quarter of a century?