Last week, my son turned 3. It’s hard to believe that my little baby is already three. Although it can be argued that turning any age during childhood is monumental (after all, turning four is much more thrilling than turning thirty-four — I should know), I think certain childhood birthdays are more pivotal than others:
- Three: The first of the important birthdays, this is when people stop referring to a kid’s age in terms of months. Castle will not be 37 months next month. He’ll still just be three years old. Also, this is the age when a lot of those toys he’s been dying to play with for years are finally considered age appropriate.
- Ten: Hitting double digits is a major milestone. Since most people don’t hit triple digits it’s the only birthday of its kind.
- Thirteen: Who didn’t love becoming a teenager? Whether the teenage years are filled with misery or are the highlight of your life, it’s still a major birthday. It’s also the age in many cultures when a child becomes an adult.
- Sixteen: Ah, sweet sixteen. For many its the age of driver’s licenses and the first tastes of true freedom from parents. It’s also the age you can legally leave school and start work at most jobs.
- Eighteen: Starting at eighteen you can vote, sign, contracts and do pretty much anything else you want because once you’ve reached the age of majority, you are legally no longer a child. Prolonged cases of adolescence may be where folks are stuck emotionally, but at this point, at least legally, you are an adult.
My little guy has only hit the first one of these birthdays, so it can be hard for me to imagine him at the next ones — especially him at eighteen. We may have a ways to go, but I’m looking forwad to the pictures I’ll have from these future birthdays.