It's my son's 13th birthday today – and tomorrow is our 14th wedding anniversary. Looking back at a photograph from that time (scanned from a print, no consumer digital readily available even such short a time ago), it's nice to note that all the parents and grandparents-to-be (although we were not to know at the time) are still alive and in good health.
But we've lost touch with the friends who accompanied us to that post-wedding picnic as well many others who joined us at the reception. New friends have come along, but it is striking how much changed in our inner and outer worlds once our son was born just shy of one year after that photograph was taken.
It's fair to say that having a child was as important a life-changing event as any other in my life, and far more significant than the vast majority. It's impossible to prepare for it – it is such a radical change. It took me a long time to adjust, not least because I had already lived 35 years without a child and certain attitudes and habits become engrained. I essentially said goodbye to what had been an active nightlife, although, in truth, the charms of that particular existence were thinning.
Here, at this pivotal point in my son's life as adult concerns become more and more prominent, I feel a sense of saying goodbye to a particular and very enjoyable epoch. By good fortune and certain career choices, I have spent more time seeing my son growing in his earlier years than many men do and that's something that is irreplaceable and precious. I feel very lucky – I still feel lucky to be present for the upcoming changes, turbulent or not, as well.