Gero-Punk Reflections: Relatively Twenty-Five

An essay by guest Gero-Punk

Jennifer Ortiz

A quarter of a century.

I have now had a son for a quarter of a century. I have been a mother for one fourth of 100 years. I was 23 then. Now I am nearly 50 and I have a son who is essentially fifty percent of my age. He is older than I was when he was born. It has been 2 and 1/2 decades since I first held him. I am almost a half a century old with a son who, in half that time, has been in my life. When his present age doubles, he will be a half a century; I will then be three-quarters of 100 years.

Twenty-five years old.

Twenty-five years ago, I had a baby boy. He was a preemie; 8 weeks early. He was born 60 days before his due date. I was younger than he is today, by two years. Twenty-five years ago, I became a mother for the 1st time. I held his 4 pound, two ounce body nearly 2 hours – roughly 120 minutes – after he was born.  Five neonatalogists waited in the room with us as he was arriving. At 7:20 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20, he came into the world and saw light for the 1st time.

This year, my son.

I have a son, who on June 20, is a young man with his own life and responsibilities; he pays taxes and has insurance. He has been around for as long as I can remember. He is a creative, artistic type. We have grown together. When he was an infant, I was struggling to understand the nuances of life. When he was an adolescent, I was discovering a provisional place in the world. And now, as he is one year more, I am learning how to be present in time that is fleeting. Together we walk. Sometimes I lead. Sometimes he leads. I no longer talk to him as a parent does to a child. We talk about loves, plans and new ideas.


Jennifer M. Ortiz is a social observer and Progressive Era historian. She holds a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Marylhurst University, and has worked as a writer for the past several years in the non-profit sector. Jennifer and her husband live in Portland, Oregon, with their three sons.


About Jenny Sasser, Ph.D.

I am a freelance educational gerontologist, writer, community activist and facilitator. I am former Chair of the Department of Human Sciences and Director of Gerontology at Marylhurst University. I joined the faculty as an adjunct member of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program in 1997 and since that time, I've been involved in designing many on-campus and web-based courses and programs for adult learners, including in Gerontology. As an undergraduate I attended Willamette University, graduating Cum Laude in Psychology and Music; my interdisciplinary graduate studies at University of Oregon and Oregon State University focused on the Human Sciences, with specialization areas in adult development and aging, women’s studies, and critical social theory and alternative research methodologies. My dissertation became part of a book published in 1996 and co-authored with Dr. Janet Lee--Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society. Over the past twenty (or more!) years I have been involved in inquiry in the areas of creativity in later life; older women's embodiment; sexuality and aging; critical Gerontological theory; transformational adult learning practices; and inter-generational friendships and cross-generational collaborative inquiry. I am co-author, with Dr. Harry R. Moody of Aging: Concepts and Controversies (now in its 10th edition!) and first author, also with Moody, of the recently published Gerontology: The Basics, as well as author/co-author of several book chapters, articles and essays. I am on the Portland Community College Gerontology Program faculty.
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1 Response to Gero-Punk Reflections: Relatively Twenty-Five

  1. Nicola Bemister (Cox) says:

    I love the way you think about things. My son turned 21 on 18th June. It’s funny how you remember all the details of their birth as if it was yesterday at the same time remembering that so much has happened since then. My son is beginning to emerge from the ‘silent years’ as my grandfather used to call them. I remember walking together to playschool and chatting with him on the way. He’s gone through the time when they say only what is absolutely necessary. But recently we have the occasional shared laugh together.

    Thank you


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