A while back I wrote on milestones, and they seem to keep on coming. I guess that’s what happens when you have a passle of youngen’s who keep reaching em. I know when I reflect on my life, I can see clear and present milestones strewn throughout. The big ones, graduating highschool, going to college ( note I did not say graduating college) getting married, having kids, getting a career and they keep on coming. One huge one that I keep reflecting on is my marriage. Not the marriage as a whole, but the event itself. You see I was 20 when I got married, and my folks, well they were 39 &40. I remember looking at them and thinking that they were old, despite my peers having parents much older than mine. Just recently I realized that I am now older than both my parents were when I got married. Did you hear that? I am older than those old people that were at my wedding, and I still have a little kids running around my house and will for a while.
Now, I don’t feel old. And unlike every UFC fighter about to take the ring, I do not feel I’m in “the best shape of my life”, but I feel okay. My bones creak, my back aches, my hair….. well we all know about that one. I can still run for 3-4 miles, still do a few push-ups and sit-ups, still remember most things, but I definitely feel a change. You know how your grandpa would say ” the weather is going to change, I can feel it in my bones”? Well apparently that is a skill that improves with age, and I now have it in my left knee. Sure, the Dr. calls it arthritis, but it is more accurate than my weather app.
Where was I going with all this? Ah yes, milestones. Well I just took my sweet little baby to get her driving permit, and she did something that no one in this house has ever done; she passed on her very first try. What makes this a milestone is that she is not my oldest. Dorian is already driving, and Alli could be if she had any motivation at all. The thing that makes it special is that I remember the very first time I saw Olivia. Tracy had come to see me half-way through the Trooper Academy in Sitka. I had never seen Olivia before that. So she signifies my job, and my time on the job, and this period of our life. I have been on this job long enough for her to go from the womb to driver’s seat. For some reason that period between her laying on the beige flower covered comforter in the Sitka Motel 8, swaddled in a pink blanket with her dark big cheeks, dark eyes and black hair; to her posing for her permit picture just a couple days ago, that period is a blur. How did we get here from there?
Yet, also, when I look back at the picture of my graduation from the Academy, 14 years ago, I see a young boy that I hardly recognize. I try to recall what I was thinking, where I thought I may end up. I don’t recall having any big plans other than working for 25-30 years and retiring; I don’t recall ever thinking that I may have 8 kids, or live in Soldotna. I didn’t know what life had in store for us, but I was pretty sure it would be exciting. At that exact moment, I am sure I was just happy that it was over, that that milestone which was so taxing was done and I was onto the next stressful challenge. I had no idea that some of my future best friends were only 15 years old at the time, that I would live in a log house, or ever own or want to own a 15-passenger van. Yet here I am, and there I stood, holding Olivia, Dorian and Alli in front of me and Tracy beside me. I was young, nieve, excited, skinny and I still had a little hair. And as l look back remembering, I wonder if I knew then what I know now how much would I have changed? I know this for sure, I am glad that little tuft of hair is gone, because I still have to teach at least 6 more kids how to drive and I would hate to be pulling it out all over the car.