Today Michael is fourteen years old.
And of course, I am struggling with wrapping my brain around this fact, and the knowledge that I have been taking notes along the journey of our life for almost as many years.
It is a milestone for sure; he is no longer a child, no longer a tot, no longer a random vector of actions and consequences.
Along with this milestone come others.
Michael's Mom and I have just completed a major remodel of our downstairs. In particular, the kitchen and dining room have been overhauled. We are talking down to bare studs, ductwork and sparking wires. Our kitchen is no longer a cramped, dark, grungy tidepool but is now transformed into a light, active, wide, hopeful space where delicious things are created and enjoyed.
Our daughters both have jobs where they work for other people and make actual money. One is a hostess at a local restaurant, working her way up to server, the other just started at a local theater supply company, something that is right up her alley.
More changes are coming, and we are very well aware that we are in the phase of life where we change from being active parents of children to being advisers to young adults learning to live on their own, but with our own regained life as a couple, our toes balanced on the threshold of a life of adventures together; the horizon now tantalizingly stretching before us.
It is this last bit that motivates me to want to take better care of myself and my wife, so that we can live longer and thus enjoy more while we are here. I want to spend that time touring the country in an RV, taking pictures of Mount Rushmore or seeing the autumn leaves in New England. I would like to stand before the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows, and put my feet in the Atlantic ocean while hand in hand with my sweetheart.
And I'd like to visit a south pacific island. Tahiti would be nice. Warm water, a bungalow on the beach, tropical sunsets and tropical drinks... sounds so nice.
I'm doing the long term plan thing.
In the meanwhile, I'll have to help Michael learn to drive, help him navigate high school without him turning into a nightmare, and help support him into his college or trade school years. And I need to ensure that the daughters, when they reach the age of 26, are safely booted out on their own.
Still lots to do before I can ever relax.