My youngest daughter turns 40 today. I’m looking at pictures from her life and wondering how does time pass so quickly. She was just born, wasn’t she? And then all those years become a reality and you see that little baby transform into a beautiful woman, a wife and mother. That’s fun to see and I’m grateful to have watched it, been a part of it. My son, my youngest, will be forever 35, so I’m well aware of how lucky I am, we all are, to get to watch our children grow up and develop their own personalities and talents and see where life is taking them and I’m grateful for every minute of the time we have together. no matter how long each life will be.

When your children are 40, your role is different – thank goodness! I’m a part of their lives, but they are their lives and I’m privileged to enjoy as much as I can with them. I’ve always tried not to offer unwanted advice or be critical and to give them their space away from me. I hope I’ve succeeded in that most of the time. I’m lucky they all live close by so I don’t have to travel or Skype and I can see my grandchildren. I’m forever grateful for that.

Hopefully, your children become your friends at this stage in all of your lives. It’s different from friends your own age, who share memories of growing up together or being together in a certain time. Your children are always your children and you always worry about them and take pride in their accomplishments and hurt for them and with them. But, now, you can enjoy them as adults. One of my favorite things is to listen to them together or with their friends. I don’t have to talk to enjoy the joy of their lives and see how they interact and what makes them laugh. Those things make me happy. Seeing them happy in their marriages, with their children, with their friends, in their work and play warms a special place in my heart. Hearing them laughing together, remembering funny family memories, is the best. When I get to be a part of that, it’s just all the better.

I’m choosing to ignore the obvious thing about having your children turn 40. What does that make me? Inside, I don’t think I feel 40, but I’m constantly reminded that I’m much more than that. Having children who are 40 is a pretty blatant reminder for all the world to see. The good thing is that there are days I feel 16 and days I feel as old as I am and I try to remember how I felt at each age along the way so I can pull it out and weigh it against how I feel today. I can’t go back because then I wouldn’t have all the memories I’ve had since I was 40, all the people I’ve met, all the fun things I’ve done. Even the heartaches are worth the journey.

Having children who are 40 is a milestone for all of us. We’ve made it this far together, we’re grateful for all we’ve learned and shared together, and our lives go on for as long as we have. 40 is a big birthday for each of us – no denying that you’re all grown up now. When you’re the parent of 40 year olds, it’s not such a bad reminder that life rushes by more quickly than we can imagine. No time for pettiness, selfishness, and all the negatives that waste our time and energies. It’s a time to celebrate all we have, all we’ve been and all that lies ahead. Life is all we’ve got and each year is a treasure to spend wisely, surrounded by those you love.