Aidan turns 18.

Aidan after earning his driver's license. He turns 18 today.

Aidan legally becomes an adult today.

As of this morning, he can vote.   Within 30 days he must register with the Selective Service.

As of this morning, the legal responsibility for his choices have changed from being ours to his.

In some ways, this is just the latest in a series of physical and legal milestones that he has passed in recent months and years, another step on his ongoing path to adulthood.  He shaves regularly and got his driver’s license this summer, to give just two examples.

But this birthday feels different than the others.

In a very real way, his childhood is over.  Forever.

During the past few days I’ve been reflecting and understanding in a different way than when I was Aidan’s age and a sophomore in a literature class at Stanford, what Marcel Proust when when he titled his epic work, “In Search of Lost Time.”

Aidan’s reaching this milestone fills me with pride at the young man he has become, at his readiness to leave our home, attend college and set out in the world.  Always independent, he has drawn explicitly on us less and less over time, with our role shifting from director and guides to more of a consultant.

It is an enormously gratifying experience to have participated in the raising of a child who is prepared and able to handle what he encounters, and particularly so to have had many warm and treasured memories along the way.

And yet a trace of sadness dances around the edges of my heart this morning.

The happiness I feel at Aidan’s growth carries just a touch of grief for his past childhood.  His reaching this milestone reinforces to me that it has been nearly 30 years since I did the same,  a reminder of time’s inexorable passage.

When I was younger, I used to believe more in undiluted emotional experiences. Now my understanding, like my hair, is more grey.   This shift is both a gain and a loss, too.

Still, on this day, 18 years after Dunreith finally had a Caesarean when Aidan essentially refused to come out and join the rest of the people outside their mother’s wombs, I feel gratitude and joy and love for the young man sleeping two doors down from me who made me a father and taught me about the generations and life’s meaning.

 

 

 

 

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4 responses to “Aidan turns 18.

  1. We were just talking about Aidan last night. Perhaps because I’ve been (too) far from him during these last years, I’ve seen this almost eerie adultness in him during our visits. (Some would say maturity, but there has always been something about that word that makes me recoil a bit.) I just *like* him, in the way adults like other adults.

    Happy Birthday to all three of you.

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks, Meghan, and I hear you about the quality you are describing.

      Love to your crew from ours. It was wonderful to see you and to meet Kristen (I hope I spelled this right!).

      Jeff

  2. What I did not realize at the time Dan turned 18, ten years ago, is that our time together would dramatically change. I figured we would at least have a few summers together. But, alas, the burgeoning musician was keen on sharing a dilapidated two bedroom flat with 6 college buddies (or more!) while he broke into the Chicago summer nightclub scene. I missed him back then, but I also envied the choice – he was much braver than I at 18. I am certain Jeff, that down the road when you haven’t seen or heard much from Aidan in quite a spell, you will get an urgent call for a connection. It may be brief, but it will assure you that all the love and sacrifices you made for your kid went deep into his heart, never to be forgotten. A smile, a laugh, a touch and you are right back to where you were you left off, yet there is perhaps less giving on your part, and a gradual receiving from your son, and that feels pretty good. In fact, being open to Dan’s gift has recently carried me through some very long days.

    You are blessed Jeff,

    jack

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Wow. Of all the thoughtful, insightful, wise and generous comments you have made, Jack, this may be right at the very top.

      I always value hearing your perspective and feel especially fortunate to have done so today, both because of what you are saying and because of the reminder you provide of the gifts Aidan and being his father have given to me.

      Thank you very much. Regards to your crew, and let’s get together soon.

      Jeff

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