“How old are you?” a 2nd grader asked me the other day (oblivious to the cultural norm that you don’t ask your female teacher—or any female—her age.) I chuckled to myself, not caring about the cultural norm, and gave him a challenging 2nd grade math problem as an answer to his question. As his brain was processing the numbers, my brain pondered something else…just how old am I, really?
You see, I had recently attended my grandson’s 4th birthday party and my mind was full of memories. Not just of the day of his birth, but memories of the joyful day that I found out I was going to be a grandmother. And memories of the excitement I felt watching as my grandson grew bigger and bigger inside his mother’s womb for 9 months. I remember him moving around, kicking and even hiccupping. All those memories led me to a realization. My grandson is not 4 years old, and I am not the age that I tell everybody I am. Truth be told, we’re all older than we say we are.
Let me explain; most everybody celebrates their birthday, that special day when we traveled out of our mother’s womb and into loving arms. But that is not the first day of our life. We started living and growing 9 months before! My “real” age, my calendar-time-age, is actually 9 months added to whatever age I am on my birthday. So, on my grandson’s birthday, he was really 4 years and 9 months old. My great nephew, who was born pre-maturely, was 6 years and 8 months old on his last birthday.
As a staunch believer in the sanctity of ALL life, especially unborn children in their mother’s womb, I will now celebrate my birthday differently. For example, for my upcoming birthday I will proudly announce my age in years and months. And if the cake is big enough, I want regular sized candles (representing my years,) and 9 smaller ones (for the months). I am sure there will be some head scratching and some questions asked, and that is OK. I welcome the opportunity to share about the beauty of life from the moment of conception.
So consider embracing your real age with me and add 9 months, or however long you were in your mother’s womb, to your birth age. It is a great way to stand up for the precious children who are beginning the first months of their life. And yes ladies, it means we will tell people our age AND we will admit to being older than what the world thinks we are!
I will step out there and go first. No math problem to figure this out. I will just say it: I will be fifty-five years and nine months old on my birthday this summer.
Now your turn… how old are you?