Mary Oves Danny Drake

I'm gonna take a moment. To celebrate my age.

Great words, by the great and yummy Tim McGraw.

But I digress. I really do feel like celebrating my age. Because in the summer especially, I will hear a song, or catch perfume on a breeze, and remember what it was like being really young. And it sounds tiring. Fun, yes. But tiring.

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You know that kind of young I mean? Teens and 20s young, when it's all about chills and thrills and dark summer nights. When it's all about girls and boys, and who wants who. A stolen kiss, the brush of a hand. It didn't take much back then, did it?

That kind of young.

And it was exciting. I think back and I smile, remembering how the mere sight of my crush could carry me for days. How "pit parties" were the ultimate hook-up spot, because the location was always a secret, and adults were clueless. How slumber parties were just an excuse to tell the boys where you'd be, so they could crash it. We'd scream, and order them home, and privately marvel about it later through princess sleeping bags.

My 20s brought the drinking age, complete with bars, clubs and casino privileges, and feeling grown up enough to be able to order a drink. Stay out all night, 4 a.m. bed times. Breakfast at noon. Work out at 3, start all over again. Go to work with a hangover, and laugh about it over the snack machine.

And when I remember those days, I raise my eyes to the heavens, apologize to God for missing church the previous week, and thank him for letting me be 44.

I don't want to be young again. On Saturday nights, I can hear the house music pounding out from car speakers, and young people singing and laughing out of their open car windows, and I feel glad for their happiness. But I shudder at the social posturing that they are faced with. I'm done posturing. This is me. Take it or leave it. Because I'm 44.

Oh, but I go out. Concerts, dinners, fundraisers, comedy shows - I love 'em. But I'm choosy about which ones I attend, and my goals are different. I go to enjoy the show, have a few drinks (or not, if I'm driving), spend time with people I love or want to love. And be home early enough to work out in the morning, and spend time with my sons.

I love being with my sons. People say this, but I really mean it. They're my favorite people in the world, and anyone who knows them understands why. They make me a better person. But that's another blog.

A girlfriend just called me yesterday to get together, and named all of the places we could drink and grab dinner. She suggested the Inlet, for their delicious mojitos. I suggested my favorite summer place.

It's right on my patio. It's a lovely patio, nothing special. But there's a big tree, comfortable chairs, and an awesome grill out back. I'll grill, I said. Chicken, steak. I'll bring wine, she said. My kids will be here, I reminded her. That's fine, she said, because she loves my kids too. I was hoping you'd want to do something casual, she smiled. Everything is so crowded, especially in the summer.

So dinner is here.

My heart is happy to be 44.


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