You know you’re getting old when . . .

On April 1, 2016 I posted the following: It’s been nearly a year since I last posted anything . . . please forgive the lapse. While getting back on track I found this piece written last June. Although her thirty-first birthday is right around the corner, I’d like to go back to her thirtieth for y’all.

Our Annie, our baby girl, turned thirty on Sunday. For each of our kids, Marie and I have hosted a party celebrating this event — this would be our last. 

This party proved a new experience for me. Not the party, actually, the hosting. With an important episode of her TV show, “Focus on Suppliers,” only a week away, Marie was up to her eyeballs at work. She was having nightmares trying to fit it all in.

Annie and her daughter, Hazel Marie Nelson

GrandpaLyle to the rescue: Marie, why not let me take care of the party?

Marie: Are you sure? That’s an awful lot to do.

G: How hard can it be? Send invitations. Order some food. A quick trip to the store for some drinks, paper plates and plastic spoons. I can do that.

M: OK. That would be great. 

But she had an odd look on her face as she said it – as if she knew something I didn’t.

I’ve always prided myself in being an equal opportunity fool. So I forged ahead. Sent invites. Ordered food. Ran to the store. The party was on. Guests arrived. I greeted them like a perfect host and began enjoying my party.

Meanwhile, Marie jumped into the breach I didn’t know existed . . . doing all the “woman’s work” I had overlooked. Ordering food is not the same as serving it. Beverages don’t pour themselves. Arriving guests need more attention than arriving kids. Midway through the afternoon I wondered why I had hardly seen Marie. 

The light came on. She was doing the myriad tasks required to keep things moving — the invisible ones every host does that cause departing guests to say, “What a wonderful party.” 

All this time I was having a ball at the party I had thrown. I came to my senses just in time to give Marie a break. She was able to enjoy watching our Annie open gifts while I did some clean up.

At thirty, Annie was as engaging as she was at three. There wasn’t a person in the room who didn’t feel the joy of being part of her life. Especially Marie.

And I’m feeling a little younger, knowing that I’m not too old to be a real jerk.


P.S. You know you’re getting really old when . . . your son (Annie’s older brother, Scott) flashes his AARP card at that same party.

Update October 16, 2020: Hazel now has a brother, Robbie. And two more of Annie’s siblings have joined AARP.

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