Back in January, I turned thirty, and it didn't bother me. After all, I have four children. I ought to be at least thirty after having personally added four people to my family, and besides thirty is the new twenty-five, right?
A month or so ago, Kathleen came to me and complained about her tooth hurting. Since I'm a mom and moms always know what to do about everything, I told her to open her mouth so I could inspect. The tooth wasn't bleeding and didn't have any obvious cavities, so I stuck my finger in and probed the tooth. It wiggled.
And I realized. My child had a loose tooth. In a few weeks, it would fall out of her mouth and she would have a snaggly, gap-toothed smile that she flashed at everyone to show them how big she was and that she had lost her tooth and can't you see how there was a new one already growing in and it made her wish come true to lose a tooth.
And I felt old. Not the kind of old that makes me afraid of breaking my hip or even having one of my children go off to college. But just the kind of old that meant that I'm not in the beginning parts of learning to be an adult and a parent any more. I'm, you know, a real live mom, not just someone who's faking their way through pretending to know what they're doing. A mother of a child who has lost their first tooth. Which means that braces are just a few years down the road. Hooray.