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.