Friday, March 7, 2014

When your kid is 40, where are you?

       Our son turned 40 this week and while he likely did not spend much time reflecting on that, his parents certainly did.
       Jay is too busy to do much reflecting on the past. He's a do-now, look-ahead person -- and we think that's wonderful. He has a pretty full life, lots of responsibility.
       So does our daughter, who is five years younger and who sent Jason a Facebook message on his birthday that read, in part, "Hope you have a wonderful day and a long, slow, enjoyable slide down that hill."
Jason Key: Our boy, now 40
       Oh, gosh, if Jay is starting the slide down that hill, where are Bea and I now? I'll get to that in a moment.
        First, though, here is the note that Gary West -- the horse-racing writer/expert and writer extraordinaire, period, and our old buddy from Shreveport Journal and Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports days -- sent on Jason's birthday:
        "This morning when I got up, I felt a little stiffness and soreness. When I wheeled out of bed and placed my feet on the floor, my knees sounded like two bowls of breakfast cereal. For no good reason, I was tired. In other words, I felt old. And now you tell me this:
        "J-Man is 40.
        "I'm going back to bed."
         So that makes West feel old, and he's a few years younger than Bea and me. So how do we feel about our young man turning 40?
          Pretty darned good, that's how.
          First, we're just happy to be here. A lot of parents don't get to see their kids turn 40. Even more sadly, a lot of kids don't get to be 40.
          Put this in perspective. When Jason's oldest son, Jacob, turns 40, Jason will be almost 75. We are a few years from that point.
          Secondly, we look at Jason's achievements, and Rachel's, and we're proud of where they are -- good families, good careers, lots of opportunities to have fun in whatever they choose to do.
           They've made lives for themselves. I like that they both still lean on their mother for support, not so much financially but as their sounding board. They don't always comply with what she offers, but they listen and they consider.
            Sometimes they even want my input.
            They both set goals, with their spouses, and go after them. Occasionally, it takes time and effort -- and help from family and friends -- but, as I noted at the start, they don't look back all that much.
             They leave the looking back for this blog writer. And I'm looking back at the year I turned 40 (1987) and how unsettled I was, how much turmoil we had in our lives. It was a year of job change and uncertainty.
             So to see Jason, at 40, go at almost everything he does at full speed -- his regular job as a plumbing construction company vice-president, his second job as Ann's assistant/guiding force in the Cajun Tailgators food truck and restaurant business, his most important job as father/hero/counselor to the two little boys -- draws our admiration.
             He has the gift of being people-savvy, the understanding what it takes to do business and get along.
             He even manages some fun time -- an occasional round of golf, a game of indoor soccer. In a rare moment of flashback, he called one night a few weeks ago and was very excited. "Broke my drought -- scored my first goal in three years," he said, laughing. "It was like one of my goals in high school, just kind of a cheap rebound shot."
             Then, after we hung up, he sent a text: "Had an assist, too."
             Good to know that the young kid in him is still there at times.
              So do we -- like Mr. West -- feel old? Yeah, sometimes we do. Physically, things don't happen as easily. I don't sleep well many nights, my left shoulder aches these days, after I walk and then come home and sit for a while, I'm awfully sore when I get up. Bea has her aches and pain, too.
              But, as she reminds me, feeling old -- mentally -- is a mind-set, and our mind-set is to think young. So we try to keep active, do our physical exercise, find things of interests and stimulation.
              We are not that tired. And we don't focus on our son being 40, it does not faze us.
              Yes, we are sliding down that hill, as Rachel suggested, but it is a long, slow ride, and it is enjoyable -- and we're not looking for the finish line.                



  1. From Maxie Hays: Nico, I'm 73. Stop talking about that!!!! Lol!!

  2. From Bea Van Thyn (in sharing this post): Son Jason, daughter Rachel and their families are aging beautifully. They fill our hearts with pride. Family is what we are about.

  3. From Loretta Geneux: Ditto for us. You could not have said it more perfectly

  4. From Cherri Kelley Barmore: We are all there. Aging as gracefully as we can.

  5. From Roy May: Lori turned 41 in January. Last year when she was about to turn 40, I was kidding with her and asked, "Well, how does it feel to be 40?" Lori replied, "I don't know, Dad, how does it feel to have a daughter that's 40?" I was like, oh, crap!

  6. From Christy Bickham: Great way to view life....I've had the same thoughts as you. Lol my oldest son turned 40 in January.