As I was washing my daughter's face recently, she stared at me intently. Obviously concerned and formulating a question, she finally found the courage to ask,
"Daddy, what are those lines on your head?"
She was referring to simple brow lines, of course, but the fact that they deepened when I concentrated, or was angry, finally gave her the courage to ask about these troubling marks. The wonderful skin that her mother had given her seemed to now be her benchmark, and Daddy looked different.
"You know, honey, when you get older, you start to get lines on your face that show how old you are. And how smart." And after sufficiently tickling her to let her know I was just being playful, she moved back to more comfortable conversation for a 5 year old, mostly potty humor.
But, it's out there. I'm showing some age.
Years ago I took a trip to the Bahamas with my three best friends, and spent a top five day on a $15 booze cruise. On that day, Tommie, the most good natured and outgoing of my crew, struck up a conversation with a middle-aged couple from New York, Bob and Terry. Tommie was always talking to strangers, but I remembered thinking that on a boat full of young, attractive, drunk women, Tommie managed to find the 50-something couple with the Jersey shore tans and kids in college.
A couple of years later, Tommie mentioned Bob and Terry again, and I recall being increduled that not only had he traded contact info with them, he had stayed in touch with them all this time.
So fast forward with me to present day. Last month my wife and I managed to get away to Vegas for a few days minus the kids, something we had not been able to do in over 5 years. We got an upgraded room and some special attention thanks to a close friend, went out to dinner, and got up when we wanted. For a couple who had been tortured with 3am awakenings by our daughter for years, this proved to be a heavenly break, and a chance to simply act like a couple for a few days.
Having decided not to spend much time gambling, we got up each day, headed down for a leisurely breakfast, and then headed out to Mandalay Bay's stunning collection of pools. And after a couple of days worth of poor pool selection, we finally honed in on a corner of the property that was our speed.
As our skin bubbled in the desert sun, we sat in the pool, and began chatting with a young couple, roughly in their mid 20s. They were attractive, clearly smitten with each other, and infectious. And after making each other laugh a few times, I waited for one of them to start making those uncomfortable motions indicating a departure. But they didn't. They stayed. And we stayed. And ten minutes turned into an hour, and then into five, until the sun chased us back into the airconditioning.
We parted ways that afternoon, but made plans to meet up late that night for a drink up in The Foundation Room, where we again had a great time enjoying the view and talking. We finally left them that night after trading contact info and promising to keep in touch. Just really fantastic people. Young, energetic and full of love and optimism, already with entertaining and interesting life stories to share, with their whole promising lives in front of them. The wives ultimately had to pull the husbands apart at the end of the evening, we were having a hard time tying up our conversation.
The next day I thought a lot about them, and something my wife asked while on a bathroom break from the pool the day before.
"Don't you feel old?"
I didn't. And I don't. I still feel like I'm 22, and most of the time, act like it. But my daughter's concerned look about the lines on my head and my wife's question got me thinking about this wonderful couple we met again.
Because I'm Bob, of Bob and Terry from New York, in this equation.
I'm convinced of it. Age is really only a state of mind. Even if your body is failing you and your face wears the roadmap of the places you've been. If you have been doing it right, your inner self is a collection of your experience and the proof that over the years you have become the best you.
Life's greatest irony. You become the best you right before you die.
Fantastic to meet you, Jason and Lauren. Please keep us up on your lives, and put us down for dinner when you come through Dallas. Please feel free to review some of what I have written about parenting anytime you need effective birth control.
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