Whenever I encounter folks more than a few years younger than me, I feel old. It’s the usual reasons – ignorance of music, shows, or other cultural ephemera that defined a part of my own life. “What do you mean you heard [insert song title here] on a classic rock station!?” The absolute worst example to date was trying to explain the concept of a newspaper comic strip to my 8-year-old nephew after giving him his first Calvin and Hobbes book as a gift.
I figured it was a given that having a child of my own would only exacerbate the situation. Each passing day would provide an avalanche of reminders that I was aging, accelerating once she entered school and developed a peer group that determined what was cool and interesting.
Maddie’s infancy has, so far, had the opposite effect on me. Within myself I’m reduced to a state of ignorance several times a day. Why is she crying? What’s funny to her about the tone of my voice? Can she recognize my moods yet? Externally, when I spend time with my daughter I fall in to patterns of absurd songs, made-up words, silly faces, and spontaneous laughter. I don’t know what could make me feel younger.