As a parent, one braces for the teenage years like someone waiting to get a root canal, or a sailor ‘rounding Cape Horn. There’s plenty of uncertainty about the outcome, almost definite pain and discomfort in the midst, and a very good possibility of barfing over the side.

At times, I worried that the boys didn’t have the same kind of mischief filled, dangerous, not-sure-how-we’ll-get-out-of-this-one life experiences that I had. However, given the stories that are coming out now, with the presumed statute of limitations long since past, I need not have concerned myself.

But, now, we’re on the other side. The youngest turns 20 today. He has crossed the threshold like, so, so many before him. Having weathered all those years of angst, hormones, high school, heart ache, rising responsibility and lowering expectations, Aidan can look forward to it all continuing just as before, with the happy exception of the high school part.

Yup, sorry to say son, nothing changes, other than it all becoming more serious with greater consequences.   It’s harder to get away with things. You’re bound to hear more conversations from those in authority starting with “at your age…”.

But you are also stuck – twenty is like the DMZ of growing up – out of the jungle of ‘those’ years, but not quite accepted into the ranks of adulthood. You can’t even legally drink south of the border. It’s like a waiting room. You are desperately wanting the woman to lean over her counter and say “the grown ups will see you now”.

But there it is. Two decades ago, in the middle of the night, you started things for yourself. You’ve done well since then. Happiest of Birthday’s Aidan, welcome into the next decade. Now, if you’ll just take a seat, someone will be with you shortly.