On Saturday night, we went over to a friend’s house. There are five families from our neighborhood who get together on a pretty regular basis. Three of the families are original owners and got together right after our oldest kids were born. (All of us have seventh-graders – both boys and girls.) Babysitters and nights out were expensive then, so we opted to take turns hosting and we brought the kids along. Between us, we have 14 children, now ages 13 to 6.

We have gone through a lot during the years and talked about it at these get-togethers. The conversations used to center around pregnancies, baby needs, nap times, preschools, etc. It moved on to include the elementary school, its curriculum, teachers and policies. The best activities and sports came up next and our conversations moved to the sidelines of our kids’ games. Soon we were on to middle school with a new host of subjects. Our conversations expanded to include our friends that were going through divorces, high school and college reunions, job losses, our parents’ illnesses and sadly, a few deaths. Each time we were the sounding board for each others problems and celebrations.

Even as the years have gone by and we have watched the kids grow from babies to teenagers, I always felt like we were young. We were not aging. We were happily frozen in this time of our lives. We could still run and play a pick up game with our kids, we danced in the kitchen or on the deck when we got together, and everyone worked out regularly and ate healthy. Age did not affect us.

On Saturday night, having gone to my son’s basketball game, we were the last to arrive. We weren’t there for more than 15 minutes before the conversation turned to aches and pains and doctors. What happened to us? We sounded more like our parents’ generation. We are all in our 40’s, not our 70’s. Yet, the conversation went from the need for bifocals or new reading glasses, creaking when you walk or go up stairs, taking a little longer in the morning for the stiff back to clear up and what the chiropractor can do to fix it all. Sadly, they were even exchanging doctor’s names. I thought it had to be the group in the kitchen, so I refilled my wine and headed to the dining room. One of my friends there asked what I did the night before. After spending the day at the dentist getting root planing and scraping done, I told her that I just laid low. The conversation turned to dental problems and who had caps, bridges and the latest root canal. Maybe we were getting older.

The advantage to this aging group was that our kids entertained themselves, made their own plates and no one carried diaper bags. No one came up to tattle and there were no tears. Two of the older kids weren’t even there. They had other plans.

That night, there was no dancing in the kitchen. We all sat around the kitchen table and talked. Don’t get me wrong. We had a great time laughing and talking together. Our conversations centered around the costs of colleges, local politics, and other “grown up” subjects. I guess we have been aging all along. I never noticed.

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