I remember my dad being depressed over a big birthday once, about time passing “too quickly,” about “being old.” And I remember, in my infinite wisdom, saying something like “But you’re just one day older than you were yesterday, so what’s the big deal?”
I was probably about 15, so smart and so smug.
I am recalling that conversation because 40 years ago today, my Niles West High School teammates and I won the Illinois state girls’ basketball championship. That’s 40 — or FORTY!!! — because it feels like it needs all CAPS and multiple exclamation marks.
My baby is 21 years old today. Excuse me while I let that sink in for a second. Alec is old enough to be considered an adult in every way except the rental car place. He can gamble in most states. Apply for a marriage license in Mississippi without parental consent. Adopt a child in the UK. Legally buy an ounce of marijuana in Colorado. Oh, and today he can finally drink alcohol. I have to remember to tell him.
He answered his own phone, which threw me when I realized it was really him. But there was little pretense about Birch Bayh, who died today at 91.
I had called to interview him for my book. It was 2005 and the U.S. Senator from Indiana and one-time Democratic nominee for President had no warning that I would call, no staff to hold me off or even make an appointment. He was 77 years old and he said he would be happy to speak to me.
It’s a game I have been playing the last few weeks, sizing up men and women, kids in middle school and up, and trying to figure out if they are potential readers of my book.
But Kristina Meece snuck under my radar.
Under one arm was her daughter’s face, and around Jessie Rodriguez’ neck was a laminated picture of same daughter, the point guard on the Nazareth Academy basketball team.
The daughter’s face was approximately the size of the entire mom, one of those Fathead things that was apparently required of every mother of every girl at the Illinois state basketball tournament this weekend.