This morning you wake up a year older and take in your surroundings through a blurred sheen of tears. You are on vacation in the Outer Banks, NC, so your wonderful wife lets you sleep in while she manages the family circus that your mornings inevitably become. You are utterly incapable of sleeping in, birthday or not. You're also prone to occasional bouts of reflective weeping on on every milestone day. So your 37th year begins at 7:30am with a steady trickle of salty tears and a series of deep breaths.
It's not that you're sad or even sweating growing old. You imagine it's more common than not for grownups to have wistful moments after running the gamut of another year. You've stated the obvious fact many times that there is one way into this world and infinite ways out. That said, when you make it through another 365, for some reason you don't feel like you should have. The odds are stacked so high against surviving that it's emotionally draining to consider how you ever did. Then there's the prospect of another marathon staring you down in your bed before your feet are even on the ground, before you even stretched.
The wave passes when your firstborn son, now 5, strolls into the room in search of your iPad. He wears a sheepish, half smirk, which you translate to mean he's embarrassed to broach the topic of your birthday. That makes two of you. He finds the iPad on your bedside table, but before he makes off with it, you pull him into bed, hold him close, and kiss his warm brown temples. He giggles and feigns a struggle to escape before breaking the news it's your birthday and asking what you want.
His rhetorical question goes straight to your head like so many champagne bubbles and inspires a smile. This moment is what you want and are so very blessed to have. Soak it up, old man, and live for it.