The realization that my mother was in her 30s during my high school years hit me like a senior center bus very recently. I don't remember giving my mother's age much thought growing up. She was just old - the standard parent age. When she became pregnant with my brother in my fifth form year I thought it was disgraceful. Old women like that should certainly not be having children.
Now here I am in my mid-30s, feeling far from old, but realizing that time is not so much wafting as it is blowing by. It is hard to believe my mother's indiscretion turns 17 years old today.
As I child and teenager, I would roll my eyes when relatives and my parents' friends would hold their palms low and say "I know you from you were this high." I get it now. My brother was the first baby I remember being allowed to hold, and definitely the first baby's diapers I had ever changed. It is stunning every time I see him - tall, handsome and cock-sure of himself.
He has gone from weeping in shame at being scolded to laughing at my mother when she tries to muster a bit of sternness. His shyness has given way to a warm and interesting character. He has grown from my annoying baby brother, to my friend. I look forward to seeing how much more he becomes.
Happy birthday James. Some birthday advice: Enjoy the moment. Time goes by so quickly. One day you are 17 and chomping at the bit to be 21; the next, you are 35 wondering what you were in such a hurry to see.