Time's a funny thing. It seems like before we had kids, we were in this timeless bubble. We'd go out to plays and dances and clubs and bars whenever we wanted. We'd travel, we'd just hang out, we were a cool young couple going out on the town. There was a cafe/restaurant down the street from our apartment owned by an Iraqi guy who loved the fact that we were this young couple in love, and would give us cardamom-laced coffee on the house. Life was good, and it seemed like it would go on forever.
Having kids ends that timeless phase, and the clock starts ticking as soon as the little one comes along. Don't get me wrong, I love being a dad, and wouldn't trade it for anything. But here I am, 15 years older than I was when I was last childless, now a late 40-something instead of an early 30-something. I still can't believe my daughter is starting 10th grade, or that all the kids I met when she was in kindergarten are also now 10th graders. Kids I remember just yesterday being toddlers are suddenly fifth graders.
The time has flown in some ways, in other ways it seems like my daughter's birth took place in another era. I realize that seven years ago my daughter was 8 and my son was 5; seven years from now, she'll be 22 and he'll be 19. It'll be a different world. And by the time my son finishes college, I'll be in my mid-50s. Yikes!
The dads I see now with little babies and toddlers are so young. I identify with them, but on the other hand I realize they're from another generation, probably born when I was in high school. I remember that when my kids were that age, older kids and teenagers were in another universe, they weren't on my radar screen, and I don't think I even knew any parents of older kids.
In a way, I think maybe being a parent is the time in the bubble, but not a timeless bubble. We popped into that bubble in our early 30s, and will pop out in our early 50s. We'll be the same, yet fundamentally changed. We'll once again have our time all to ourselves, and be able to do whatever we want whenever we want, but we won't be that young cool couple anymore, we'll be that old couple, and I don't know if old couples can be cool...
Cross posted at daddychip2