I’m old. Yep, my daughter called me old. She trudged out of her room, her blanket wrapped around her, after lying in bed for about 20 minutes at bedtime. This has become the routine. She tells me she misses me and can’t go to bed. 

Me: Go to bed. You’re tired. You have dark circles under your eyes and you’re staring like you’re tired. 

4 year-old: Yeah, because I’m old. I don’t want to be old like you. 
At this point, Mr. Awesome starts laughing from across the room where he’s sitting on the couch. So, I take a deep breath, try to assure myself that she’s just being 4 years-old, and usher her back to her bedroom.

Then, I head to the fridge and spoon out of its jar a big gob of hot fudge…except that it’s cold because my house is so small that I can’t use a microwave when the girls are sleeping. I have to admit I’m feeling a bit of self-pity, and I can’t help but think back to the first time I called me dad old. More specifically, it was “old fart”. He even got a hat with it printed on it. He was in his 40s when it happened. Now that I’m in my mid-30s,  I realize how wrong I was.

There are times when I look in the mirror and think, “God, I look like that?” I have bloodshot eyes, dark circles under my eyes, and gray streaks sneaking through my hair. But I don’t feel so old. Tired. Slightly worn out. But not old. I have young kids. I should look slightly beat up. 

Still, the words that slipped from my daughter’s lips tonight make me realize I’m not as young as I once was. 

At least I’m old enough to eat as much chocolate as I want.