Tracey Florence remembers the day and time her first child, Annjelica, was born, but after forgetting to count a few birthdays, there is some disagreement about how old she was.
“I was 21,” she recently claimed.
“You couldn’t have been,” I argued. “Add it up. If you were 21 then and Annjelica’s 21 now, then you should be 42 which you’re not.”
Tracey wasn’t convinced my addition was right, so she countered, “I was born in 1964 and Annjelica was born in 1989. Now subtract that.”
“Then you would have been 25,” I replied after doing the math.
“That can’t be,” Tracey countered, “I was 21.”
Since I couldn’t count on math to prove me right, I turned to a somewhat less trustworthy source for the truth – memory. “When Annjelica was born you were working at Buckeye,” I pointed out. “So, how old were you when you started at Buckeye?”
“I had to be 21,” she reiterated. “Because that’s how old I was when she was born.”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s how to recognize a losing battle and when to say, “You’re right.”
To which Tracey grinned and said, “I know.”
Since I hate being called wrong when I know I’m right, and to ensure there’s no future doubt about how old she was when her daughter Trayonna was born, I decided to get it on record. “Trayonna Janell Flowers was born,…?” I initiated.
“On September 27, 2010 at 5:59 p.m.,” Tracey finished.
“And how old were you?” I queried.
“46,” she responded.
That’s right. At age 46, and four months after Fredrick, the younger of her two children, graduated from high school, Tracey became a new mother.
No one saw it coming. Tracey didn’t. Neither did Paul. Her mother, Geraldine, was floored for a few days. And, Fredrick, Annjelica and her son Dustin, are still trying to put the arrival of their new sister and aunt into perspective.
“My grandson Dustin says he doesn’t want her to be his aunt,” Tracey said then laughed before continuing. “He kept saying he wants her to be his sister. So I told him, if you want her to be your sister then she’s your sister.”
Family members weren’t the only ones surprised six months ago when Tracey revealed she was pregnant. I think I speak for all of our mutual friends and classmates – here, there, and everywhere – when I say we, too, were caught off guard. We’ve had our share of surprises over the years, but life has taught us to expect career changes, divorces, receding hairlines, and expanding waistlines. But becoming a new parent on the cusps of middle age is mostly unexpected.
“And scary,” Tracey added.
“Scary?” I probed. “Why? Was it because of your age?”
“No,” she quickly answered. “It was because my mother worried a lot more than she did when I was 21 and having Annjelica.”
“21?” I asked with some skepticism.
“Trust me,” she assured. “I was 21.”
Another thing life has taught me is, at our age it’s better to rely on trust than math or memories.
So, I let her be 21.