Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Like a Rolling Rock

I turned 33 on Thursday.  I remember when Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird turned 33, in part because the media said his age finally caught up to his number.  They made a big deal of this because Larry Bird was OLD.  His feet needed surgery, his back was falling apart, and he'd get halfway to the basket and then forget why he was there.  Bird was in the "twilight" of his career and would retire three years later.  Nobody has heard from him since.

Of course, 33 is old for a basketball player.  I guess I could now say my dream of playing for the NBA is now officially over.  At least I still have time for Major League Baseball.  To be honest, turning 33 did not make me feel old.  Having a kid nearly three years ago did.  And now I'm bracing for another one.  I think I pulled a back muscle just thinking about that.

Fortunately, even an old guy like myself can still have some fun, and on Saturday I went out with friends to celebrate.  Jennifer and I hired a sitter for the night, one we've used a few times now (she's very skilled and terrific with Kyle).  Our close friends Matt & Amanda and Mickey & Bonni also found sitters for their kids.  That meant the three couples were able to have a kid-free night at Dinosaur, an excellent barbecue restaurant in Manhattan (and excellent barbecue is not easy to find around these parts).

While everyone had a great time, the night was different for each of the couples, depending on their varying stages of parenting.  The newest parents of the bunch, Mickey and Bonni, have a girl who's almost three months old.  Parting with a child that small is at times heartbreaking, even if you're leaving the child just to get a leftover sandwich out of the fridge.  Mickey said they missed her as soon as they left their apartment to head to the restaurant.  They weren't worried because she was getting plenty of love from Mickey's mother, but once the night was over they were eager to return home.  It was cute.

Matt and Amanda (seen to the left with my lovely wife Jennifer) have an eight-month-old boy.  It's a fun age for a kid to be.  Their little guy is not a tiny fragile baby anymore, and he's been moving around, exploring things and trying to become friends with their dog.  By now, Matt and Amanda have left their child with a sitter several times.  Like Mickey and Bonni, they miss their little guy, but they're now used to leaving him every now and then.  Yet there's always the concern that something might go wrong, and parents with an eight-month-old still want to make sure they can be reached at all times.  Matt's phone was on the table all night, and he occasionally glanced down to make sure he didn't somehow miss a call.

Meanwhile, Jennifer's phone was on vibrate and buried under a pile of coats.  We were practically halfway through the meal before we realized that.  My phone had been tucked deep in my pocket, where it's sometimes impossible to hear, especially in loud restaurants.  Good thing the sitter knew where we were having dinner, so she could have had us paged if Kyle suddenly became a pyromaniac. 

Don't get me wrong: we still miss our child when we go out, especially if it's for a while, and often we can't help but talk about him.  And, yes, we often do leave a phone out in case the sitter calls us.  Yet I think we've just become so used to leaving him with others that it's becoming easier for us to get caught up in the night out.  Sharing an evening with these great friends certainly helped, too. 

Does that mean I'm no longer a new parent?  Hmmmmm... that might be true.  Wow.  NOW I feel old.

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